By SHAN GANQING
SHANGHAI (China Daily Show) — An American employee has upset his co-workers after donating too much money to one of his company’s regular disaster-relief funds.
John Warner, 26, of Littleton, Colorado, was feeling nauseous during his lunch hour and decided to go home early Tuesday, unaware that HR representatives had planned a surprise fundraising activity that day in the canteen.
Warner’s absence was immediately noticed by the company’s receptionist, resident tattle-tattle Carolyn Wei. “I know he had gotten salary higher than ours did, so he should have been the first to donate it!” an indignant Wei told reporters.
After receiving a text message from sympathetic colleague Li Ning, Warner returned and promptly donated 1,000 yuan to the unspecified cause, stifling dissent – but creating a whole new problem.
The thoughtless largesse has “deeply hurt the feelings of the company’s Chinese people,” according to Wei, prompting an intranet gossip thread entitled ‘Who did John thought he was? Bob Gates?’
“It was at that moment,” said a satisfied Wei, “that everyone’s comment begin to change. Now they said he thought he was better than ours!”
By early Tuesday evening, as Warner recovered at home, the ‘Bob Gates Source’ meme had been reposted online over 4 million times and an energetic campaign to oust him from the country was in full swing.
On Wednesday, as Warner sipped warm tea and considered whether to return to work, the Xinhua news agency published an editorial demanding a sincere apology, calling Warner a “barely civilized Western mincer,” while adding that China “did not care about the insult.”
Millions of Chinese have posted insults and deaths threats to the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts of John Werner, a 17-year-old German schoolboy who has never visited China. Analysts are confident that, by lunchtime, as Warner decides that his condition is definitely not contagious, the American will have managed to inadvertently offend virtually the entire country.
At the time of going to press, a total sum of RMB2,862, raised by 126 individual employees, has been donated to the China Red Cross on Wednesday and had disappeared by Thursday.