By SHAN GANQING
SHANGHAI (China Daily Show) — An American proofreader has upset his co-workers after donating too much money to one of his company’s regular disaster-relief funds.
The incident has unwittingly sparked a furious web campaign and comes at a difficult time for non-domestics in China, as the country engages in a ‘100 Flowers for Foreigners’ campaign, aimed at cracking down on reprobate English teachers.
John Warner, 26, of Littleton, Colorado, was feeling nauseous during his lunch hour Tuesday and decided to go home early, 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 – and resident tattle-tattle – Carolyn Wei. “I knew 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 Zhifang, Warner returned and promptly donated 1,000 yuan to the 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 Li, prompting an intranet gossip thread entitled ‘Who did John thought he was? Bob Gates?’
“It was at that moment,” said a satisfied Li, “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 netizen campaign to oust him from the country was in full swing.
Web analysts predict that, by the end of the week, Warner will have managed to inadvertently offend virtually the entire country.
Meanwhile, the total sum of RMB 5,862, raised by 126 individual employees, was donated to the China Red Cross Wednesday and had disappeared by Thursday.
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