The BMW reportedly driven by Li Tianyi, the son of a Chinese army general
Beijing News / Pu Feng
The BMW reportedly driven by Li Tianyi, the son of a Chinese army general

Story highlights

Son of general reportedly attacked couple during road-rage incident last week

The couple, who had their child in the backseat, were hospitalized, reports said

Incidents involving children of China's rich and famous have fuelled public anger

Many in China refer to these children as "taizidang," or "princelings"

Beijing CNN —  

A teenage boy has become the focal point of growing public anger in China at the bratty behavior of children from privileged backgrounds.

Last week, the son of an army general and celebrity singer in China rear-ended a Buick sedan carrying a family of three. It turned out that Li Tianyi 15, was driving his BMW without a license, according to the Beijing Evening News.

After the collision, Li and an 18-year-old friend, who was driving an Audi behind him, reportedly jumped out of their cars and attacked the driver and his wife, berating them for stopping abruptly.

As the couple’s child cried in the back seat, the newspaper described how Li had threatened bystanders, daring them to call the police.

The husband was taken to hospital after sustaining injuries to his head and ribs.

Li had previously racked up 36 traffic violations while driving without license, according to media reports. Beijing’s Public Security Bureau told CNN that Li has since been sent to a juvenile detention center for a year.

The teenager grew up in an elite family, his parents both singers who frequently appear on stage and on television. His father, Li Shuangjiang, has long been a household name in China, best known for his renditions of patriotic military songs.

After the incident, Li issued a public apology for spoiling his son and asked that he be given another chance, CCTV reported.

However, this failed to stop the tide of public anger. Many voiced their anger on Sina Weibo, China’s popular micro-blogging site.

“We will give him another chance, but the law can’t.” posted @ Gujingyema. “For kids with family and social connections, the only way to deal with this kind of kid is to go by laws.”

@Sisirukou2265 observed: “Nowadays, you are special if you have a special dad.”

This is not the first time the children of the rich and famous in China have triggered public outrage.

In October last year, a young drunk-driver hit two students on a university campus, killing one and injuring the other. According to Chinese media reports, the driver exclaimed “My dad is Li Gang!” as he tried to warn away security guards who tried to detain him. Li Gang is a senior policeman in Hebei province.

Though the young driver was later sentenced to six years in prison, many people complained the punishment was too lenient.

“How can this be right?” said @kakayazai on Sina Weibo. “He deserves life in prison!”

@LeewuzhiV commented: “Li Qiming (the driver) only sentenced 6 years in prison. I was taught since kindergarten that one life pays for one life. This case shows money can do everything.”

Many in China speak of “taizidang,” or “princelings,” when referring to the children of high-ranking officials and rich families.

According to one blogger, more and more people feel a sense of injustice when they hear about these children breaking laws and getting away with infractions by using their family’s connections.

“Public anger rages whenever there are negative reports involving the off-spring of high-ranking officials and wealthy families,” said Liu Yiming.

He added that only by exposing their crimes would the situation improve in China.