In the internet age it is not wise to flaunt expensive personal items that cost more than your annual salary. Lanzhou mayor, Yuan Zhanting, found this out recently when he made the mistake of being photographed on a number of occasions and each time he was wearing a different expensive wrist watch.
Two university students who noticed the mayor’s taste for pricey timepieces wondered how he could afford them on an official’s salary.
He is now being investigated. It was either the height of arrogance or stupidity because earlier this year another official Xian bureau chief Yang Dacai was similarly caught with high end watches. At the time Yang said “over the past ten years or so I have indeed bought five watches. I purchased them at different times, using my legitimate income to buy them”.
However his superiors were not buying the “if you put a little away each day how soon it builds up” line of argument. He was later fired.
Zhanting may be joining Yang at the local employment office soon in another triumph for the “human flesh engine search” – a remarkably effective form of internet vigilantism where netizens trawl the web for evidence of wrong doing, particularly corruption and then post the findings.
One of the few lessons I remember from journalism school (many years ago) was always ignore the clothes and check out the watch, pen and shoes. These three items are often a good indication of a persons character and integrity. A low paid government official who is sporting a $10,000 Rolex, Gucci shoes and a Mont Blanc pen at the same time as claiming to be poor is probably not the most trustworthy of people.
Business suits can be rented or borrowed but not watches, pens or shoes.