Anger over luxury military cars spotted during CNY despite extravagance crackdown

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 11:05am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 12:27pm

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?”