No, it’s not my intention to besmirch 1.35 billion Chinese. Certainly, many do try to be honest - even if it puts them at a disadvantage. But the state holds so many selfish, deceitful people that they have given the entire country an ugly reputation.
For example, a Chinese social-networking site’s recent survey of college students found extensive cheating among those applying to American colleges.
At least 70 percent of application essays are ghostwritten, the survey found. Transcripts are falsified. Better-educated substitutes are hired to take Scholastic Aptitude and English-language tests.
Many Chinese newspapers and magazines, the New York Times recently reported, hand out rate cards to anyone who wants to purchase a faked, flattering published profile. And not long ago, a cheating school-bus driver crammed 64 kindergarten children into a nine-seat van and then crashed head-on into a truck. Nineteen children died.
How does all this dishonesty, this cheating, relate to Bo Xilai, his wife the accused murderer and their profligate son? Bo, it has been disclosed, is worth at least $160 million - though his government salary is $19,000. Corruption, a form of cheating, is a certainty.
But then Hurun Report, which chronicles the lives and foibles of China’s wealthy, reported that the Chinese legislature’s 70 richest members are together worth $89.8 billion - 12 times more than the U.S. president, Cabinet secretaries and all 535 members of Congress.
Millions of ordinary Chinese are fed up. “I have no choice but to buy foreign brands,” Liu Shou, a mother concerned about her child’s milk, told Reuters last month. “I don’t trust them.”