By Ben Hedges and Kathleen Zhang
China’s biggest Internet portals are blocking searches and pulling content today, but this content is not about village protests or petitioners seeking appeals. Instead, they’re censoring the report of a car crash involving a Ferrari.
Internet censors have been quick to cover up any information regarding the crash and news reports have been removed from Chinese Internet portals: Netease, Sohu and Tencent.
At 4am last night (March 19th), a black
Ferrari 458 Spider, carrying 3 people, crashed at Baofusi bridge on Beijing’s 4th ring road. The driver died at the scene and his two female passengers were both injured.
The car only has two seats, and Chinese Internet sources reported that it crashed into the leg of the bridge while one of the women was pressed against the driver, who then lost control. The car was completely destroyed. Passengers and driver were thrown out of the vehicle.
Netizens speculate the likely identity of the driver was the reason for the censored reports.
Unconfirmed reports on the Internet suggest that the driver was the illegitimate son of Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member Jia Qinglin. The identity of the two other passengers is not known.
The car is valued at over $200,000 USD, making it out of reach of all but the wealthiest Chinese, indicating a high likelihood the driver was a member of China’s powerful elite. For example, initial speculation hinted that the driver had been Bo Guagua, the son of disgraced official Bo Xilai, who was known for driving a Ferrari around Beijing.