The culture that is China

A Chinese man was recently in the news for not only winning millions of yuan in a lottery, but also for the bizarre costume he wore while collecting his prize. The man, believed to be about 40 years old, was so worried about revealing his identity that he actually turned up dressed as the popular Disney character Baymax!

Speaking to reporters, the man revealed that he had won 170 million yuan (approximately $27 million) even though he rarely buys lottery tickets.  As for the strange costume, the man revealed that his wife forced him into wearing it, fearing that old friends and long-lost relatives might suddenly show up expecting a small share of the prize. But no costume can actually help him evade the mandatory 20 percent tax on lottery winnings, which means he will have to cough up about 34 million yuan to give back to the state.

As it turns out, this man isn’t the first lottery winner to adopt the eccentric practice of accepting winnings in disguise. Lots of Chinese winners tend to be very cautious about protecting their identity, to dodge thieves and relatives. So they turn up wearing superhero masks or costumes. In fact the tradition dates back to about 25 years or so.


That is from Sumitra, via Michael P. Gibson and Dan Wang.  There are other good photos at the link.


Oh goodie, he can afford to buy a house in Vancouver.

"thieves and relatives"

Lotteries here prefer that the winners reveal themselves publicly because it encourages others to buy lottery tickets, but I understand that most (or all) lotteries allow winners to collect without publicly identifying themselves. I assume that in China those who operate the lottery prefer winners to reveal themselves for the same reason, and they require the winner to actually reveal herself in order to collect; thus, the masquerade. My point is that America and China aren't that different, except that the Chinese are more creative in concealing their identity.

Lotteries here prefer that the winners reveal themselves publicly because it encourages others to buy lottery tickets.

My understanding is that the policy requiring public identification is there to prevent fraud. The public might, for example, notice that the brother in law of the lottery commissioner, the daughter of a lottery machine executive, the local crime boss, etc. might win more than would be expected.

For example:

Iowa prosecutors allege Tipton bought the same numbers that he had programmed into the lottery computer a month earlier. He then gave the ticket to a friend in Texas who prosecutors say reached out to attorneys in Canada and Texas to try and cash it in without divulging the name of the original ticket buyer. Since Iowa law requires jackpot winners to be identified, the jackpot was never paid.

I would think that the optimal costume would be one which did not draw attention to yourself. On the other hand, that costume certainly covers up any identifying physical features.

There's an easier fix for this. Tell your relatives No.

Tell the kidnapers No.

Tell the blackmailers No.

Tell the creditors No.

Tell the landlord No.

Instruct your family to tell anyone who sends a ransom demand to them accompanied by one of your fingers No.

Thanks Meghan Trainor.

My bank balance is no.

"Tell the kidnapers No. Tell the blackmailers No."

I was under the impression that crime isn't significant problem in China. That it's closer to the first world than the third world.

"Tell the creditors No. Tell the landlord No."

Why wouldn't you just pay your creditors if you have the money.

> I was under the impression that crime isn’t significant problem in China.

Your impressions are your responsibility. Take the responsibility seriously.

Do a web search for "china kidnap." Read the Wikipedia entry "Kidnapping in China." Read the Forbes article "How To Avoid Getting Kidnapped In China."

In order to understand why criminalizing blackmail does not protect the wealthy from being blackmail attempts, read Robin Hanson's essay "In Praise of Extortion," and Steve Sailer's essay "Why is blackmail illegal?" and the cases they cite.

> Why wouldn’t you just pay your creditors if you have the money.

"Since you owed me yuan when you bought the lottery ticket, that means you bought the lottery ticket with my yuan. The prize belongs to me. I am a nice guy and I will reimburse you for the price of the ticket. I spoke to the judge and sheriff before speaking to you and they agree the case is very simple."

"Since you won the prize, I must increase your rent because of the greater risk of burglaries. In case you are thinking of moving, you will find that other landlords will also demand a higher rent. In case you are thinking of buying land so you do not need to pay rent, you will find the the land's sellers want a higher price from you because they know you are a multimillionaire."

Point taken. Another good reason I'm happy to be living in the US. I had no idea that kidnapping women, children and the rich was that prevalent in China.

"From the period of 1991 to 1996, Chinese police freed and estimated of 88,000 kidnapped women and children. ... In 2011, Chinese police asserted that they rescued over 13,000 children and 23,000 women in last two years. Government officials had noted that they would impose harsher punishments on those who purchase kidnapped children."

Perhaps physically, but emotionally/psychologically when you are shunned from your family and friends--not easier

I've always tended to avoid friends that would shun me for not giving them money.

$27 million is a lot of money. It will change things. Are you going to say no when your brother needs to send his kid to the US for surgery? When it's your aunt? Second cousin? Kid's kindergarten teacher?

I'd rather people not know, at least if intended to stay where I was. If I'm on the next plane to Miami maybe I don't care so much.

Part of the problem is that people perceive $27 million to be more than it actually is.

I'm guessing $27 million either in China or in the US will buy you quite a few phone calls from friends and relatives.

I'd like to think I have, but there's no way to be sure until its too late. Perhaps, you'd be better off in the long run, but again, there's no way to be sure until there's too late. Frankly, I don't think its that onerous dressing up in a costume. At least there's no big unexpected potential negatives down the road you need to worry about.

Only 2 more days till Ghostbusters comes out.

It's especially tough to say no to relatives in China. No matter how legit your reasons.

<I was under the impression that crime isn’t significant problem in China. That it’s closer to the first world than the third world.

Isn't the entire CCP a criminal enterprize?

Hate to sound racist, but since they all look the same, the costume doesn't hide anything.

I've always wondered when Chinese (or other east asian parents) pick up their kids at school or the park, can they instantly spot their child?

No, Alvin, they can't. Indeed out of the 88,000 cases of kidnapping, a whole 99% of them are due solely from the fact that the kidnappers has mistakenly misidentified the kidnapped as their own child/parent.

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