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IRONY ALERT

Chinese billionaire unconcerned about rich-poor gap is attacked by knife-wielding jobseeker

Bloomberg/Nelson Ching
Hopefully it wasn't his smoking hand.
  • Adam Pasick
By Adam Pasick

Senior Editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It was a rough week for Chinese billionaire beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou—he was unseated as China’s richest man by Dalian Wanda founder Wang Jianlin on Wednesday, and then attacked with a knife by an angry migrant looking for work on Friday.

Zong, chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha Group, is worth an estimated $18.7 billion. He was confronted  in a residential area near his home by a man who came to Hangzhou looking for work. According to the state-run Xinhua news service, the man pressed Zong for a job, then attacked him when the request was denied, severing tendons in Zong’s hand. Police arrested a 49-year-old man with the surname Yang and charged him with the crime.

Zong is a prominent Communist Party member who urges fellow businessmen to stay out of politics. When asked earlier this year about China’s widening income inequality, he said: “We don’t need to solve the problem of the rich-poor gap, we need to solve the problem of common prosperity.”

Earlier reports speculated that the attack might have been in retaliation for the recent suspension of senior Wahaha executives. A spokesperson for the company told Chinese press that the chairman is already back to work in his office.

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