GuoMeimei phe­nom­e­non

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Is one person enough to ruin a na­tion­wide char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tion? If the person is 23-year-old GuoMeimei, the an­swer is yes. She grabbed the head­lines when she used her mi­cro blog to claim to be a man­ager of the nonex­is­tent “Red Cross Com­merce” in 2011 while flaunt­ing her lux­ury pos­ses­sions such asHer­mes hand­bags and Lam­borgh­ini sports cars. The bla­tant dis­play of wealth made many peo­ple sus­pi­cious about pos­si­ble cor­rup­tion in the Red Cross So­ci­ety of China.

The scandal, to­gether with the lack of trans­parency and other prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tions, dealt a heavy blow to the rep­u­ta­tion of the Red Cross. Even though Guo was re­cently de­tained by po­lice on sus­pi­cion of run­ning a soc­cer gam­bling racket and has ad­mit­ted that she had made false claims three years ago, the Red Cross is still far from re­gain­ing pub­lic trust.

Guo be­longs to a group of peo­ple who love to show off their wealth on­line. In fact, her name is now widely used to de­scribe this phe­nom­e­non, or xian xiang in Chi­nese. They flaunt their lux­ury cars, ex­trav­a­gantly dec­o­rated vil­las and even de­signer clothes made of ban­knotes, and, in the process, de­mean the poor strug­gling peo­ple. Most of such peo­ple say they owe their lux­ury pos­ses­sions to wealthy, pow­er­ful par­ents or officials who have taken them as mis­tresses.

What is more shock­ing is that such sick­en­ing be­hav­ior is quite pop­u­lar on­line. Quite a few web­sites of­fer spe­cial plat­forms for “lux­ury shows” which are marked by large num­bers of false com­ments. And ap­pallingly enough, some per­sons who gain “wide pub­lic­ity” on such shows are in­vited to com­mer­cial per­for­mances in order to at­tract more view­ers.

Such open boast­ing of in­her­ited or ill-got­ten wealth and sex trade is a vi­o­la­tion of the so­cial val­ues of jus­tice and equal­ity. If such shows spread their evil ten­ta­cles fur­ther, many youths could lose faith in them­selves to cre­ate a bet­ter to­mor­row through hard work.

Fur­ther­more, the naked dis­play of wealth spreads ha­tred among low- and mid­dle-in­come peo­ple against the rich and pow­er­ful. It’s time peo­ple stopped watch­ing such shows to en­sure that they lose their ap­peal.

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