BEIJING (China Daily/Asia News Network) - The son of China's second-richest man Wang Jianlin is at the centre of a media storm after telling reporters that his top criterion for choosing a girlfriend was that she had to be "buxom".
Wang Sicong, 27, made the comment at a charity event held at a movie theatre chain owned by his family in Beijing on Valentine's Day.
The comment drew criticism from state news agency Xinhua, coming as it is amid simmering social discontent over the rich-poor gap and frequent episodes of the well-connected exhibiting outrageous behaviour or appearing to be treated as above the law.
"A certain rich second generation boasted about 'buxom' women on Valentine's Day, recklessly revealing vulgar information about the worship of money to sex and violence," said a commentary posted on the official Sina Weibo account of Xinhua on Feb 15. Weibo is one of China's most popular social-networking sites.
"Certain celebrities not only fail to take responsibility for promoting mainstream values, but also spread vulgar ideas. They don't see it as a shame but instead see it as their own 'distinctive personalities'," the commentary added, accusing Wang of "breaching the bottom line of morals".
Wang, who is a board member of his father's film-to-property Dalian Wanda Group and chairman of Prometheus Capital, a private equity investment firm, is seen as one of China's most eligible bachelors.
For Valentine's Day this year, he helped raise more than 500,000 yuan (S$108,312) for the China Next Generation Education Foundation by auctioning off the opportunity to watch a movie with him. He donated a further 500,000 yuan from his own pocket.
Hours before Xinhua posted its commentary, Wang had written on Weibo, where he has more than 10 million followers, that he "apparently made a joke" and "can't believe someone had taken it seriously".
"Am I that shallow?" he asked, before adding three "angry" emojis.
The online spat has quickly become one of the most-discussed issues on Weibo.
A Wang supporter commented: "He raised more than one million yuan in donations, and the commentary said nothing about that?"
Another said: "Will the media one day suggest that provincial officials can only marry women with an A cup?" It received 2,289 likes.
Another commenter added: "Only rich people make news by saying this online. Ordinary people can do this a million times without being labelled 'being vulgar'."
Wang is known for being outspoken and has had several public spats. In 2011, he criticised millionaire Zhang Lan, a restaurant entrepreneur, for claiming to be on good terms with his father and that his father had provided for free the venue of her son's wedding to Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu.
He said on Weibo: "How can you say you have great relations with my dad since you've never met him?"
In June last year he hit out at Jingdong.com, one of China's largest online marketplaces, for a delay in delivering four computer desks worth 200 yuan each.
Last December he blasted the movie, Gone With The Bullets, on Weibo, and had online spats with its producers.