Profane roadside rant against Beijingers incites Beijing mob

Society & Culture

On Friday, a driver in Beijing — who was not from the city — learned the perils of casting aspersions on Beijingers in the nation’s capital. It all started when Cao Yuan’ang 曹远骯 was caught on video cursing out a local biker and besmirching the good name of Beijingers. What followed was a human flesh engine search, online harassment, and a veritable old-fashioned mob.

According to a social media post, it all started when Cao was driving in a bike lane around Zuoanmen (in Fengtai District in the southwest part of the city) and apparently lost his patience while stuck behind a biker. After honking to no avail, he got out of his car and unleashed a vile rant in which he cast himself as “daddy” (老子 lǎozi) and slurred Beijingers as “poor.”

Here’s what he said:

Beijingers can only fucking ride this shit. Outsiders all drive, you got it? You poor motherfucker, check out my fucking plate. Daddy [referring to himself] is fucking better than you, you got that?

Regional rivalries can be intense in China, where deep-rooted prejudices manifest themselves in both subtle and flagrant ways. We see it often in Beijing, where there are people from all corners of the country. It’s inevitable that during the occasional dispute, one’s place of origin will come under attack.

But Beijingers are a proud bunch, and they didn’t take kindly to Cao’s profane outburst. After the above video was posted to social media, online users identified Cao by his Beijing license plate — A33014 — and learned that he and the biker with whom he had exchanged pleasantries were settling matters at a local police station.

This was the scene that followed:

Unsatisfied with patiently waiting for the disputants to settle their differences, the mob appears to have pushed inside the station and started requisite “asshole” chants (I realize 傻逼 [shǎbī] has a more vulgar literal translation, but “asshole” — albeit slightly more malicious — is closer to its spirit, especially used in group settings).

As a result of all this, Cao Yuan’ang, the driver, went on social media later in the day to apologize.

My excessive language and a few of my inappropriate words triggered everyone’s — especially Beijingers’ — antipathy. Here, I want to say to everyone I’m genuinely sorry. No matter the time or place, expressions of regional discrimination shouldn’t be used to exacerbate regional conflicts. At the same time, I will continue to actively communicate with the other party, with sincere apologies, in order to receive their forgiveness.

Cao added that his wife and child and his workplace have suffered “huge pressure” due to this incident. “I feel very sorry for this,” he said, “and have resigned of my own volition to alone bear this responsibility and to lessen the negative influence on my family and office.”

No word on whether the Beijing mob has accepted Cao’s apology.