Generation of Rich Brats Sparks Chinese Anger

Lethal car accident, lenient sentence trigger wave of Internet outrage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2009 7:03 AM CDT
Actors perform a dance of the musical "Road to Revival" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Chen Shugen)
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(Newser) – Public outrage aimed at new generation of elites is widening class divisions as China prepares to mark 60 years of Communist rule, the Wall Street Journal reports. The sons and daughters of those who got rich after the economic reforms of the early '80s are widely seen as being above the law, as their parents use their wealth to consolidate political power.

Public anger was stoked earlier this year after a car accident in Hangzhou. The driver, the 20-year-old son of a wealthy family, killed a young engineer from a poor family while racing his souped-up Mitsubishi along city streets. Photos of his friends laughing and smoking at the crime scene became an Internet sensation. The rich family was accused of using its connections to help their son avoid a stiff sentence; he was given just three years in prison, and many believe that the family hired a stand-in to serve the time for him.