High-end boy racers drive pensioners spare
Pensioners near Beijing are pleading for help after residential streets were transformed into a race track by gangs of wealthy young drivers in super-cars.
A spectacular weekend crash involving a Lamborghini and a Ferrari has thrown a spotlight on the boy racers in the heart of China's capital.
But residents of Fenglin Luzhou, a neighbourhood next to the boulevard where the crash took place, say they have been living with nightly races for years.
"I feel angry and helpless. Somebody must do something," said Zhao Lihua, a 64-year-old pensioner whose 11th floor flat gives her a front-row seat to the late-night races involving supercars and super-bikes piloted by super-rich Chinese. "These racers ... are abominable. They cannot be the children of ordinary people."
Mrs Mi, another neighbour who refused to give her first name, said: "I really hate the noise. It makes me want to throw sticks into the road to make the cars flip over."
Until just a few decades ago the streets of Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai were clogged with bicycles. But the country's economic boom means the roads are now peppered with a multicoloured troop of "super luxury" cars, status symbols for a new generation of Chinese capitalists.
Of the 7318 Ferraris shipped around the world in 2012, 784 went to China. Two hundred and five Lamborghinis came to China in 2013, out of a total of 2121.
In February one person was killed when a Ferrari crashed and burst into flames. Two years earlier, the 23-year-old son of Ling Jihua, a former senior aide to the then president Hu Jintao, died in a 4am crash involving his black Ferrari 458 Spider.
In the absence of government action, the residents of Fenglin Luzhou were taking measures of their own, according to Mrs Mi. One set of neighbours recently called in the builders. "They installed triple glazing."