• Fri
  • Aug 22, 2014
  • Updated: 2:30am
PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 11:05am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 12:27pm

Anger over luxury military cars spotted during CNY despite extravagance crackdown


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

Despite Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping’s call to cut waste and end extravagance, luxury cars bearing military plates - among them a Maserati Quattroporte, an Audi Q7,a BMW X6 and several Land Rovers - were seen around the country during Chinese New Year.

Many believe these cars were being used for personal matters - and not for official work purposes - during the national week-long holiday.

Photos posted by netizens on China’s social media show some of these "white-plated cars", as they are often referred to by mainlanders, being driven about, while others were parked at tourist spots - far from their registered provinces.

Even Yu Jianrong, a professor at China Academy of Social Sciences and online activist who called for netizens to post photos of luxury military cars on Weibo, China’s twitter-like service, was surprised at some of the photos submitted by netizens .

After seeing a photo of a black Maserati with a Beijing military plate, Yu said: “This has been an eye-opening experience for me. I used to be sceptical of people who claimed to drive cars worth millions yuan. But now I am totally convinced.”

The car in the picture seems to match a Maserati Quattroporte which sells for more than two million yuan (HK$2.49 million) in China.

Another photo posted on Thursday showed an Audi Q7 bearing a Guangzhou military plate driving on a highway amid congested traffic.

While readers expressed anger and disbelief, a sarcastic netizen said, after seeing the Audi Q7 photo,

“Was our general rushing to reclaim the Diaoyu Islands?” 


More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

I don't understand. Banning extravagance was for CNY only? The cars have already been purchased, and people's anger is against their use for 'personal' reasons? It would mean more if extravagance is banned altogether, and that no more luxury cars be purchased. Nobody, even government officials, need cars worth millions of yuan to go to work.
Or maybe the plates are fake? Nobody mentioned that possibility. Some people use the fake plates to get through traffic and avoid fines and fees. But we all can see the very expensive cars used by the army and other government organizations. A Maserati is indeed a "little" too much.....
Absolutely true. Quite a lot of the military plates are indeed ersatz and probably more so on these extreme examples. That said, however, there is a trend of a disproportionate amount on luxurious vehicles in Guangdong province and especially with the "WJ" (Wu jing - People's Armed Police) prefix.
Assuming that the plates are use on non-military vehicles, then who provided the plates ? Again, it could be a corruptive process underlying the matter ?


SCMP.com Account