What Happens When A Beijing Man Invites Women Into His Lamborghini? : Parallels The man had a hidden camera recording his chats with the women in Beijing's nightlife district. The video has struck a nerve in China's running debate over materialism and values.
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What Happens When A Beijing Man Invites Women Into His Lamborghini?

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What Happens When A Beijing Man Invites Women Into His Lamborghini?

What Happens When A Beijing Man Invites Women Into His Lamborghini?

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, imagine you're a young woman on the street in China at night. A young man you've never seen before pulls up in an expensive Italian sports car and asks you to hop in. That is the set up for a hidden camera video that has been making the rounds in China this summer, and it has struck a nerve in the country's ongoing debate over materialism and values. NPR's Frank Langfitt explains.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Driving beneath streetlamps, the man trolls for women in an $800,000 Lamborghini. He pulls up to one wearing a black skirt.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

LANGFITT: Beautiful woman, he says. Are you alone? Is it convenient to go eat something together? OK, she says, without missing a beat. She climbs in without asking a question.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken).

LANGFITT: You got in my car. Aren't you afraid I'm a bad guy, he says. You ought to be a good person, she answers. The driver asked if he were in a small, Chinese-made car, would she have climbed in? No, she says. My legs are too long. In all, five of seven women get in to the Lamborghini. One offers her phone number unsolicited, another invites him back to her apartment. Later, the same man makes the same offer from behind the wheel of a small SUV by Chery, a Chinese company. Not a single woman accepts.

The video was shot in Beijing and created by Tudou, a giant video sharing site. It's been viewed more than four million times, according to web figures. But chat with young people here in Shanghai, and it seems at least half have watched it, like Wang Xinyu, a recent high school grad, who was out strolling with her boyfriend earlier this week.

XINYU WANG: (Through translator) This experiment really says one thing. Nowadays, when girls see men driving luxury cars, they will fall for them. They probably thought people driving luxury cars must be very rich, and who knows? Maybe they can be with them and be happy for the rest of their lives. To put it bluntly, they are willing to sell their youth for money.

LANGFITT: By climbing into that Lamborghini, the women seemed to reinforce and established stereotype here - the gold-digger chasing China's new rich as a shortcut to wealth.

SKY WU: (Through translator) This is too common in Shanghai because I know people like this.

LANGFITT: Sky Wu works for an Apple reseller here. He recalls that one of his 20-something coworkers became the mistress of a wealthy, middle-aged man.

WU: (Through translator) She looked pretty cute, and many customers asked for her number. One day she quit the job. The man who took of her was a public servant, working for a government agency.

LANGFITT: Many Chinese blame the blind materialism of some young people here on the destruction of traditional values during the upheaval of the Mao era and the breakneck capitalism that followed. Ye Kuangzheng is a cultural critic based in Beijing.

YE KUANGZHENG: (Through translator) The Chinese Communist Party emphasizes political education, but not the cultivation of a values system. China is still in the state where there's no foundation for a national philosophy.

LANGFITT: Sean Zhou, who writes for a Formula 1 racing magazine, says the behavior in the video is not surprising given the pace of change in China's income chasm.

SEAN ZHOU: I think this kind of psychology is there in every society, but maybe slightly more so in China than other areas. We are gaining wealth at tremendous speed, and some people are gaining more quickly than others. So I kind of understand it.

LANGFITT: Emily Gao, though, says those Lamborghini-loving women don't represent most here in China. Gao, who works as a real estate agent, says she doesn't spend her time hunting for rich guys.

EMILY GAO: A normal girl like me - probably after dinner, I go home, I do some work, I watch some T.V.

LANGFITT: Would you get into a Lamborghini with a stranger?

GAO: No, I don't think so.

LANGFITT: Because, she says, that's not the kind of life she wants to lead, and those aren't her values. Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Shanghai.

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