China’s charm offensive may have its successes grabbing headlines but anti-Chinese sentiment is reported to be rising in Singapore. Local and social media (extending to Hong Kong) outrage at taxi-ferrari crash threatens the ideational power of Chinese state-craft in the only place outside Greater China with a Chinese-majority population.
This piles onto a growing list of discontent at integration challenges with the influx of a million mainland Chinese emigrants and workers into Singapore, the second densest (in terms of urban population density) place in the world.
Just earlier in March, Chinese students upset over compatriot’s blog [Straits Times]
And in August 2011, Singapore’s ‘anti-Chinese curry war’ [Telegraph]
State media defends PRC Ferrari driver Ma Chi: He is not a ‘heavy drinker’ and has applied for Singapore PR (Temasek Times blog, May 14, 2012)
Chinese Embassy expresses regret over fatal car crash (Straits Times, May 17, 2012)
Singaporeans and Hong Kongers hurl insults at PRC netizens in a fierce exchange on Youtube (Temasek Times blog, May 18, 2012)
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Taxi-Ferrari crash sparks outrage in China
by Valerie Tan
Source – Channel News Asia, published May 18, 2012
Beijing, CHINA: The recent high-speed crash in Singapore involving a Chinese national, which killed three people, has sparked outrage in China – against the growing number of young and affluent who behave badly.
Observers said it will take another generation, before the civil behaviour of the country’s growing nouveau riche, catch up with their income.
Observers said the two high-profile incidents where Chinese nationals ran into trouble with locals in Singapore and Hong Kong will only deepen anti-Chinese sentiment in the region.
Zhang Lijia, writer & social commentator, said: “China is rising so rapidly and many people in the West and our neighbours are watching China very warily. Many people just feel frightened and uneasy about China’s rapid rise. I don’t think China has been very good at addressing that issue and China’s soft power.”
Following the tragic Ferrari crash in Singapore which killed three, including the 31-year-old Chinese car owner, commentaries have appeared in China condemning the obnoxious behavior of rich Chinese overseas.
A man in the street said: “It’s obvious the car he drove doesn’t reflect his level of education. Even elementary students know you don’t beat the red light.”
Echoing similar sentiment, another said: “The rich in China are too much, go around flashing their money.”
Observers blame such irresponsible behaviour on the sudden rising affluence among the Chinese.
Attitudes and etiquette, they say, may take longer to change.
Zhang Lijia said: “China is getting rich too fast. But other things like manners, sophistication takes time. It’s a common problem amongst Chinese, lack of public concern. They’re pretty good at breaking rules if they don’t have to face the consequences.”
And the Singapore incident comes at a time when the Chinese public, frustrated with the growing income gap between the rich and the poor, are especially critical of the extravagant lifestyles led by China’s super affluent whom some feel have amassed their wealth through illegitimate means.
An issue that will inevitably pose a challenge for the incoming batch of new Chinese leaders assuming power at the end of the year.