Thursday, March 22, 2012

Banning The "F" Word In China

Yes, the word "Ferrari" is apparently blocked these days, if you are searching for it from the Mainland.

Why would that be, when China is the world's second biggest market for Ferrari sales?

A couple of days ago, on a snowy early morning (around 4 am), a black Ferrari was involved in a horrific single-car accident that took the life of the driver and injured two passengers. This tragedy occurred eastbound on the North 4th Ring Road, at Baofusi Bridge, which is right in the neck of the woods where we have been living the last few years.

It turns out, rumor has it, that the driver was the son of a very high ranking government official. And so, in an effort to stave off further discontent on the part of laobaixing (everyday people), reporting on the story has apparently been cut off. I say "further" discontent in light of the fact that there has been a series of incidents over the past several years in which the privileged children of China's elites have behaved very badly, flaunting their wealth and taking advantage of their status out on the streets.

Here is an archetypal example of this bad behavior, also from Beijing...

In September 2011, the 15-year-old son of a very famous singer made the front pages for a road rage incident. Li Tianyi was driving a black Audi A6, another car that is a symbol for the rich, with an 18-year-old buddy trailing him in a black BMW without plates. Reports are that a couple ahead of them in a Buick were driving too slow for their tastes. The two young men got out of their cars, got the couple out of the Buick and proceeded to beat them while their young child watched, wailing, from the back seat.

And so "Ferrari" is now a banned search term, turning a terrible tragedy into a politically sensitive matter. Not that I would have ever dreamed of searching for the "F" word while in China...or the United States for that matter. Now, "Dodge Caravan"...that's another story...

~Steve

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