CHINA

Video: Uproar in China after customer hurls wad of cash in seller's face

Screen grab from the video below.
Screen grab from the video below.

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A video showing a rich customer throwing bundles of banknotes in the face of a sales assistant has sparked an uproar in China. Social media networks were sent into overdrive after the footage appeared online, provoking indignation in a country where the rich and wealthy are regularly the subject of tabloid gossip.

The video was filmed in the city of Handan, in the eastern province of Hebei. The customer can be heard bellowing to the sales assistant: "You think that I don't have the means to buy that?", before adding, "Whether you believe it or not, I could buy the entire street!" She then adds: "Do you know who my father is?" Clearly exasperated for some unknown reason, she pulls a bundle of 100 Yuan banknotes out from her bag [Editor's note: 14 Euros] and chucks them at the stone-faced vendor before another customer intervenes.

 

The video quickly went viral on Chinese social media networks, provoking anger amongst Internet users disgusted by the rich customer's show of arrogance.

"Who's your father? Let's find out ! We're sure he'll be arrested!"

Others - albeit not as many – defended the rich client. According to them, the snobbery and offensive remarks uttered by certain vendors in jewellery shops in Handan could have sparked her outburst.

"Don't think for one second that this woman is in the wrong. Vendors in jewellery shops are so snobby that when they see people dressed casually, they assume that you won't buy anything and sometimes even ignore you!"

"Certain shop assistants are really snobby, everyone knows this. I think that the client went a bit over the top, but she must have been provoked to anger."

Yet other Internet users chose to see the funny side of things. Many asserted that they wouldn't be bothered at all if someone decided to hurl banknotes in their face.

"Does the cash that was thrown at the sales assistant belong to her now? If that's the case, please throw some at me, I could bear it."

 "I want to work there".

China's scandal-prone 'Fuerdai'

It's not the first time China's 'Fuerdai' have stirred up controversy. ‘Fuerdai’ is used to denote a category of rich kids who have inherited fortunes from their parents or grand-parents, who did not come from old money but instead were part of China’s “new rich”. Some indulge in showing off their wealth on social media networks with photos of banknotes, luxury cars, jewelry or designer outfits. Others often find themselves caught up in various scandals. Li Tianyi is one such example. Born to a well-to-do Chinese family, over the last few years he's been implicated in both a car crash and a rape case.

Even the pets of China's wealthy kids are getting in on the act. Last May, a photo of a dog whipped up a hullabaloo across the country. The pet belonged to the son of one of China's wealthiest industrial magnates who heads the conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group. The dog can be seen wearing two golden Apple watches, each of which are worth between 9,000 and 15,000 euros. The dog's owner Wang Sicong had posted the photo on Weibo with the following commentary: "I've got new watches! I should have four, because I've got four paws. But that wouldn't be very refined, so I only wore two, which is enough for my social status. Do you have one?"

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A few months ago, a young woman was given five years in prison on top of a fine totalling 50,000 Yuan [Editor's note: Roughly 7,000 euros] for being part of a network that rigged bets during the 2014 football world cup. Twenty-four-year-old Guo Meimei was known on Weibo for regularly using the social networking site as a platform to flaunt her life of luxury.

Guo Meimei, posing with her banknotes. 

Young Chinese people showing off their luxury car in Beijing, in 2011. 

But in a country where the income gap between the richest and poorest continues to widen, the blatant flaunting of riches is increasingly frowned upon. In 2014, roughly one million people became millionaires in China, putting the country only second behind the US in terms of the total number of millionaire households. Yet according to government figures, in that same year around 82 million Chinese people were still stuck below the poverty threshold, living on less than one dollar a day.