Lunar New Year

Officials' offspring lament lack of lai see

Children of government cadres complain the number of red envelopes handed out this Lunar New Year has shown a marked decline as President Xi Jinping's anti-graft drive bites

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 10:24am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2014, 12:26pm

Staff at a counselling centre for elementary school children in Beijing have been busy comforting the sons and daughters of Chinese officials this Lunar New Year. The youngsters are upset by small number of red envelopes they have received from their parents’ business colleagues amidst Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, according to a report in the Beijing Evening News.

Along with gold moon cakes, abalone, and mao-tai, the amount of cash-filled lai see envelopes handed out has diminished this year as conspicuous generosity by cadres could raise suspicions of corruption.

“Last year I didn’t get as much money as my classmate. This year I was hoping to surpass her. But, with the exception of my relatives, I didn’t receive many red envelopes at all! I lost so much money, mum and dad have to pay me back!” 9-year-old Yingying said to the newspaper.

Yingying’s father, a government employee, instructed his family not to accept lai see over concerns suspicions might have a negative affect on his career.

China has been undergoing a war on graft since Xi assumed office in March last year, with most luxury goods outlets suffering their lowest sales in five years.

One counsellor who spoke to the paper said family conflict resulting from the lack of lai see is not confined to elementary school students.

High school student Xiaoying was quoted as saying “I don’t accept them [red envelopes], but my mum and dad have to compensate me with 100 yuan per day.”