Stake it on Daddy

Two decades of economic growth have certainly made China richer. But uneven growth and lagging political reforms have also contributed to a sharp widening of the gap between rich and poor in the country. As social gaps grow more distinct, some Chinese say there is a growing consciousness among young Chinese of gaps in opportunity between those who have access the power, money and connections and those who do not. The term “stake it on daddy,” or pin die (拼爹) — a shortened form of bipin laodie (比拼老爹) — is a popular modern slang in China for the practice among young people (and many not so young) of comparing one’s own parents and connections with those of others in terms of economic wealth and social or political status. Behind this term is the idea (how broadly it is held is difficult to say) that in China having ability is not as important in the real world as having a father who is connected and/or wealthy. The Li Gang Case of 2010 could be regarded as a classic manifestation of the ping die social mentality. In this case, the son of an influential police official struck and killed a female college student with his luxury sedan and dared witnesses to turn him in, shouting “My father is Li Gang.”

David Bandurski

Now director of the CMP, leading the project’s research and partnerships, David joined the team in 2004 after completing his master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He is currently an honorary lecturer at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre. He is the author of Dragons in Diamond Village (Penguin/Melville House), a book of reportage about urbanization and social activism in China, and co-editor of Investigative Journalism in China (HKU Press).