The new great divide: the ruling class and underprivileged

Li Qiming, a 22-year old drunk driver, was sentenced to 6 years in prison on Sunday. He was accused of hitting two girls on campus and killing one of them. But what made him notorious  was what he said after the accident: “Sue me if you dare, my father is Li Gang” His father is a senior police official who has been blamed a lot by outraged Chinese.

What Li Qiming stands for is not just a police chief’s son who is powerful because his father works in government. It’s common Chinese officials to protect each other from being reached by law. Li’s arrogant words just underscored this.  Another similar case took place on December, 2010. A drunk young man assaulted polices and said “My uncle is Jin Guoyou, don’t you dare to fight against me, I’ll kill you!’.

After the car accident, authorities tried to censor reports. But the case was widely discussed online, so Li Gang tried to settle with victim’s family. CCTV even made some time for Li Qiming to apologize on TV. Li Gang and his son were crying on TV, which was regarded as sheer performance by most netizens.  NPR attributes Li Qiming’s stiff jail sentence to the swift dissemination of the story over the Internet. In the past, the relationship would protect him from the punishment of law. Now, the government is increasingly under the pressure of public opinion.

(Picture from China Hush. All rights reserved.)

6-year prison life and 460.000 RMB are the punishment of killing a person. Compared to another offender, who was sentenced to life imprisonment because of avoiding highway tolls, the divide between privileged people and grass roots is clear. It’s true that in China, the biggest possible decision one can ever make is to choose your parents. In a country which social status can easily affect judicial system, it’s just not fair.

About Meng Wang

Meng (Elyse) Wang is a double-degree master student studying Global Media and Communications at University of Southern California and London School of Economics. Meng received her B.A. in Broadcasting Journalism from Fudan University based in Shanghai, China. During 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Meng worked as an intern in Phoenix TV, editing and dubbing daily program. When she was a sophomore, she spent two months living and working in Tibet, made a documentary about the losing culture of Tibetan Wine. Meng had abundant experience of interacting with people from diverse cultures. In 2007 she received full scholarship of a multi-cultural program called The Scholar Ship, beginning her cruise-based trip around the world. In the journey she studied intercultural communication and travelled around the world with 200 other students from more than 35 countries. The ship departed from Hong Kong, went to more than 10 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
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2 Responses to The new great divide: the ruling class and underprivileged

  1. emilyfro says:

    So is there a growing movement against police corruption in China?

    • Meng says:

      It’s said there is a ‘silence revolution’ going on in China. Just like the netizens and grassroots media in this case, they are functioned as a tool of proliferating information. Movements against government corruption take place in many forms. There are also some liberal media outlets emerging, like Southern Weekend, which is well know for the investigative reports, revealing corruptions and injustice. But some of their reports are censored and banned every year.

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