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  • Hi, welcome back to China Uncensored.

  • I'm your host Chris Chappell.

  • You know, nothing says ideal communist utopia

  • where everyone is equal...

  • like modern China.

  • It became clear after the death of Chairman Mao

  • that killing all the rich people and taking their stuff

  • was not a great long-term strategy for economic growth.

  • Because you eventually run out of rich people.

  • So the next leader, Deng Xiaoping,

  • came up with a new theory:

  • Let some people get rich first.”

  • That's not a joke.

  • That's actually what he said.

  • And since then,

  • China has seen decades of stunning economic growth.

  • This is Shanghai in 1987.

  • And this is Shanghai in 2013.

  • So who are the people who got rich first?

  • Why, it was the proletariat

  • the backbone of the revolutionwho...

  • Just kidding.

  • It was the communist officials.

  • They didn't have to pretend to live frugally anymore.

  • They were free to take big profits

  • from state-owned companies,

  • or to kick peasant farmers off of the land

  • and sell the rights for development

  • while getting kickbacks.

  • You know, the traditional way to make money.

  • But soon there were others getting rich, too.

  • Millions of everyday people started small businesses,

  • and a few of them pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.

  • Whatever bootstraps are.

  • I'm talking about people like Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

  • His first job out of college in 1988 was teaching English...

  • for $12 a month.

  • Then, he started several small businesses,

  • which all failed.

  • Eventually, he started the e-commerce company Alibaba,

  • which did not fail.

  • And now he's worth 40 billion dollars.

  • And Jack Ma is not alone.

  • According to the latest annual Hurun report,

  • there are 777 billionaires

  • in the People's Republic of China.

  • And it just so happens that 104 of them

  • are Communist Party officials.

  • I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

  • The US, by contrast, has only 571 billionaires.

  • And most of them aren't in government positions.

  • OK, there are exceptions.

  • But Trump's counterpart in China is also super wealthy.

  • Xi Jinping may not live an extravagant lifestyle himself,

  • but together with his relatives

  • he's worth at least a quarter billion.

  • Anyway, China has more billionaires

  • than any other country.

  • By far.

  • And while Alibaba founder Jack Ma may live humbly...

  • Well, other than doing stuff like producing and starring in

  • his own short film where he's somehow a kung fu master.

  • I guess that's just what crazy rich people do.

  • I mean, star in your own martial arts movie?

  • Who wouldn't do that?

  • But while Jack Ma may be crazy rich,

  • at least he isn't crazy and rich,

  • like Chinese entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao.

  • The guy who once hosted a fancy lunch

  • for homeless people in New York City

  • to highlight how bad America's homeless problem is,

  • and how he could fix it.

  • Starting with his promise to give out $300 in cash

  • to every homeless person in attendance.

  • And then, in a bizarre twist,

  • he took all the money back.

  • He also faked the ice bucket challenge by pretending

  • to sit in ice water for half an hour.

  • Chinese people would call Chen Guangbiao a total tu hao,

  • or nouveau riche.

  • But there's not a lot of old money in mainland China,

  • because of the whole,

  • killing rich people and taking their stuff policy under Mao.

  • Which is why rich Chinese are taking etiquette classes.

  • Many people ask why pay 100,000 RMB ($16,000)

  • to learn how to cut a banana?

  • Don't think about it like that.

  • What we teach is more than that.

  • It's about the spirit of etiquette.”

  • As well as yacht-buying classes.

  • There's an advanced electrical toilet on the yacht.

  • And when I go sailing next time,

  • I can discharge it on the open sea.

  • They're already rich,

  • but now they're learning how to act wealthy.

  • But if you think that's crazy behavior

  • for the crazy rich people of China,

  • wait until you hear about their kids.

  • There's even a term in Chinese for rich people's kids:

  • Fu er dai.

  • Orrich second generation.”

  • And some of these fu er dai are seriously...extra.

  • Like this Instagrammer, Sian Vivi X.

  • Showing off her apartment with a

  • slightly above average view of Hong Kong

  • Her humble automobile, probably a Toyota Camry.

  • A normal, everyday breakfast/

  • An afternoon out on the ol' fishin' boat.

  • And of course a totally unstaged photo where she and herbaes

  • depict what I assume always happens at girls' slumber parties.

  • Wait, what's that Shelley?

  • It does?!

  • Wow.

  • Now perhaps it seems a bit tone deaf

  • to show off your luxury lifestyle

  • in a country where most people are still living

  • on less than $10 a day.

  • But on the plus side, your average Chinese peasant farmer

  • isn't looking at Instagram.

  • Because first, you need to own a smartphone.

  • Also, Instagram is blocked in China

  • and you have to use a VPN to access it.

  • But there's nothing wrong with being rich.

  • Even if you use that money to buy your dog eight iPhones.

  • Although that is kind of ridiculous.

  • I mean, why would a dog would need more than four iPhones?

  • One for each cute little paw, obviously,

  • but what are the other ones for?

  • But if the crazy rich fu er dai of Instragram want to buy

  • an excessive number of backup iPhones for their dogs, fine.

  • Or if they want to show off their helicopters,

  • I have no problem with that.

  • If her parents earned that money fair and square,

  • and she benefits from it,

  • I'm happy for her.

  • Even if the Internet points out that when riding a camel,

  • you should really wear long pants.

  • I mean, chafing, hello!

  • But it's not the horse-cuddling,

  • baby-elephant-feeding fu er dai that mainstream Chinese people

  • are all worked up about.

  • Besides, there are rich Instagrammers in every country

  • who arehashtag living the dream.”

  • But it's the crazy rich Chinese fu er dai

  • who think they're above the law who drive people...crazy.

  • Like the college student who snapped a photo of herself

  • literally burning money.

  • Although I suppose it could have been

  • an anti-Mao political statement.

  • But it wasn't.

  • Or there's the crazy rich daughter of a Chinese official

  • who refused to put her 20-thousand-dollar handbag

  • through the x-ray machine at a Shanghai subway station.

  • And the security guards were like,

  • Well then we won't let you through.”

  • And then she was all like,

  • Well then my daddy's going to kill you.”

  • That's not a joke.

  • That's what she said.

  • I feel there should be some kind of solution

  • in between not getting on a train and killing people.

  • Speaking of killing people, this fu er dai.

  • He was driving drunk outside a university in northeast China,

  • when he ran his car into two girls,

  • killing one of them.

  • He started driving away,

  • and when students and security guards tried to stop him,

  • he yelled: “Go ahead, sue me if you dare.

  • My father is Li Gang!”

  • Li Gang was the deputy director

  • of the local Public Security Bureau,

  • which is like the police, but with more authority.

  • So maybe not super rich,

  • but certainly super powerful.

  • That is, until the phraseMy father is Li Gang

  • became an online meme,

  • and a metaphor for abuse of power

  • that's fairly standard across China.

  • And then when the Communist Party

  • realized they couldn't cover it up,

  • they told the court to put Li Gang's son in prison.

  • He was sentenced to 6 years.

  • And these cases are just a few that illustrate

  • a much larger problem in China.

  • A lot of Communist Party officials,

  • as well as their kids,

  • feel like they are above the law.

  • And a lot of regular rich people in China

  • feel they're above the law, too

  • because many people who became billionaires

  • have strong connections to Communist Party officials.

  • Since having strong ties with the Communist Party

  • makes it so much easier to accumulate wealth in the first place.

  • In fact, in the People's Republic of China,

  • the Communist Party itself is outside the law.

  • The constitution is even written that way.

  • So don't be too surprised when

  • some of the crazy rich people in China act out.

  • On the plus side,

  • if you go see Crazy Rich Asians this weekend,

  • you'll think Nick's family are just the nicest folks.

  • And before we go, it's time to answer another fan question

  • from one of our supporters on the crowdfunding website Patreon.

  • Cha Cha China fan asks:

  • Being watched all the time with surveillance cameras

  • must be nerve-wracking for your average Chinese.

  • Or do they know?”

  • Good question.

  • There are 200 million surveillance cameras across China,

  • and they have plans to build several hundred million more

  • making China a world leader...

  • in spying on its own citizens.

  • Based on what I've read and people I've talked to,

  • everyone there is aware of the surveillance in a general sense,

  • but the average Chinese citizen doesn't consider it a big deal

  • the way we Americans do.

  • Now while that might seem crazy,

  • remember that even before the era

  • of mass camera surveillance in China,

  • there were other types of surveillance.

  • Since the communist revolution,

  • there have been vast networks of spies and informants

  • in every neighborhood, every school, and every work unit

  • ready to report even the slightest deviation from the Party line.

  • That's just how the Communist Party operates.

  • So the current era of mass camera surveillance

  • is just a digital extension of that.

  • And in some ways,

  • it may seem even less intrusive.

  • People who've grown up their entire lives under communism

  • don't have the expectation of privacy

  • the same way people in free countries do.

  • And that allows the Communist Party

  • to keep extending its surveillance

  • without a lot of public pushback.

  • Also, anyone who pushes back

  • will be caught on surveillance,

  • so...I guess that also explains it.

  • Thanks for your question.

  • And thank all of you for watching me,

  • because I'm watching you!

  • OK, not really, but I will be watching your feedback,

  • so leave your comments below.

  • Once again, I'm Chris Chappell.

  • Thanks for watching China Uncensored.

  • Sadly, my daddy's not a billionaire.

  • So to keep China Uncensored going,

  • we rely almost entirely on support

  • directly from viewers like you.

  • Click this orange button to visit our webpage

  • on Patreon.com to learn more.