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Guan Er Dai

Posted Nov 16 2010 12:00am

A few years ago the Chinese people invented a new noun: guan er dai (官二代), meaning the children of government officials. There was already fu er dai, meaning the children of rich people.

The reason for the new term is that guan er dai act badly. A few weeks ago at Hubei University, a guan er dai, driving a car on campus, hit and killed a girl. Angry bystanders gathered around the car. “My father is Li Gang!” shouted the guan er dai. Li Gang is a mid-level police official. Not especially powerful, but powerful enough. Hubei University covered up the incident.

Government officials have always been very powerful, said the friend who told me this. But only recently have people become aware of this. This is why guan er dai is a new term.

A few years ago a Tsinghua sociology professor and a graduate student wrote a book about the hierarchy within Chinese society. Government officials on top, below them business people, and so on. Perhaps farmers at the bottom. The government did not allow this book to be published “we are not on top of society, we are the servants!” said a government official. All that work, down the drain.

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