With modern China's rise to greatness have emerged new
kinds of elite in the country, dramatically different from
the political class that has guided the nation since 1949.
rich, cosmopolitan and well connected, many are the overseas educated
progeny of families that made fortunes in the postreform
boom years of the 1980s and 1990s – what is known in popular culture as 'fuerdai (富二代)'.
Spared the nation’s agonies in the 20th century, Chinas new
elites are the pinnacle of a gilded generation. Sometimes the
beneficiaries of eye-popping inherited wealth, their extravagant
lifestyles have frequently attracted media finger-wagging in a
country where poverty and thrift were long the norm.
Yet for millions of Chinese millennials, more attuned to mobile
commerce than Marxist ideology, these new, young rich represent an
ideal version of material success to be aspired to and imitated.
This fascinating collection of images by British
photographer Jonathan Browning comprises a snapshot of a social class whose self image is a highly variegated mix of international designer brands and traditional Chinese, reconfigured in a country still coming to terms with its status as a 21st century superpower.
Glorious! In Search of China's New Elites was published by 3030 Press as a limited edition of 1,000 copies.