Porn consumption in China

Source: Sixth Tone (1/10/18)
Porn Consumption in China: The Hard Facts
A series of national surveys show that viewing sexually explicit content has no effect on rates of sex crimes.
Pan Suiming
[Pan Suiming is a professor emeritus and the honorary director of the Institute for Research on Sexuality and Gender at Renmin University of China in Beijing.]

This is the third article in a series on gender and sexuality in China. Parts one and two can be found here.

Sola Aoi is a well-known former adult film star in Japan with legions of young fans in China, including more than 18 million followers on Weibo, a microblogging platform. She has called for friendship between China and Japan and is an enthusiastic advocate of public welfare, traits that have led Chinese netizens to bestow upon her an endearing nickname: Teacher Aoi.

Aoi is one of the most popular stars among Chinese porn viewers. Between 2000 and 2015, I conducted four nationwide surveys into the country’s sexuality, all of which asked the following question: “Currently, there are many videos, DVDs, images, and photographs that depict explicit sexual content. Have you viewed any in the past 12 months? It does not matter how you came into contact with them.” Continue reading

Life-size replica of the Titanic

Source: NPR (1/8/18)
A Life-Size Replica Of The Titanic Is Under Construction In China’s Countryside
By Rob Schmitz/NPR

A 30-foot by 30-foot mock-up of the Titanic replica now under construction stands near the construction site in China’s Sichuan Province. Rob Schmitz/NPR

A lot of questions spring to mind on arriving at the construction site for a full-scale Chinese replica of the Titanic:

Why is this being built in the remote countryside, 1,000 miles from the sea? Why is this being built? And simply: Why?

The infomercial the developer screens for visitors at the site in the town of Daying, Sichuan Province, leaves these questions unanswered. Continue reading

Xiao Meili open letter on sexual harassment

Source: Sup China (1/8/18)
China Must Combat On-Campus Sexual Harassment: An Open Letter
One of China’s most prominent women’s rights activists pushes the #MeToo conversation forward: “It’s imperative that Chinese colleges construct a mechanism to prevent sexual harassment on campus.”

Xiao Meili 肖美丽 (real name Xiao Yue 肖月, pictured) is one of China’s best-known women’s rights activists, having made international headlines in 2015 for organizing an “armpit hair contest” to redefine “feminine beauty,” and before that from 2013-14 for walking 1,400 miles to raise awareness of sexual abuse on college campuses, and before that in 2012 when she protested domestic violence by wearing a bloody wedding gown.

On Monday, Xiao — inspired by a former Beihang University student coming forward with her story of experiencing sexual harassment — penned an open letter to her alma mater, the Communication University of China (CUC) in Beijing, detailing a plan to prevent sexual harassment on college campuses. Sixteen other people signed the letter, with many more publicly offering support after its publication.

Below is a full translation.

An open letter from former students of the Communication University of China to propose a system to prevent on-campus sexual harassment

Dear Principal Hu Zhengrong 胡正荣, and the faculty and students of the school,

We are a group of Communication University of China alumni who have for years closely followed gender equality as a social problem. Recently, news of Luo Qianqian 罗茜茜, a former student at Beihang University, reporting her Ph.D. advisor Chen Xiaowu 陈小武 of long-term sexual harassment has ignited lots of discussion in society, and was applauded by many as the start of a #MeToo movement in China. Within a few days, students and alumni from more than 20 institutions — including Xi’an International Studies University, Beihang University, Nanhua University, Beijing Normal University, Nanjing Normal University, Zhongshan University, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Xi’an Peihua College, Shandong University, Hubei University, Zhejiang University, Changan University, Southwest University, Central China Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Northwest University, Shantou University, Dalian International Studies University, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Shaanxi Normal University, Tianjin University of Commerce, Chuzhou University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Peking University, and Wuhan University — wrote letters to their schools. Continue reading

Court accepts ban of gay content case

Source: The Hollywood Reporter (1/3/18)
Beijing Court Accepts Case Requiring China’s Censors to Justify Ban of Gay Content
By Patrick Brzeski


A court said it will hear a Shanghai man’s legal challenge to a 2017 rule banning Chinese streaming-video services from carrying content that depicts gay relationships.

A Beijing court on Wednesday said that it will hear a case requiring China’s media regulator to justify a recent classification of homosexuality as “abnormal.”

Fan Chunlin, a 30-year-old man from Shanghai, filed a lawsuit Wednesday with Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court demanding that China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) clarify the policy basis for a regulation introduced last summer banning depictions of homosexuality from online video platforms. The court accepted Fan’s case and is now required to hold hearings and issue a decision within six months, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, told local state media. Continue reading

Excesses of China’s social credit system

Source: Sup China (1/4/18)
The excesses of China’s social credit system
By Lucas Niewenhuis

Sesame Credit (芝麻信用 zhīma xìnyòng) is the leader in the “social credit” industry, which aims to develop an all-encompassing system for ranking Chinese citizens’ trustworthiness, for both commercial and government security purposes.

  • On January 3, the Alibaba subsidiary admitted to an “extremely stupid” design in its app’s settings that inconspicuously shared all users’ credit data with Alibaba’s separate payment app, Alipay, by default, Sixth Tone reports.
  • The New York Times calls (paywall) the outcry over this a “rare, public rebuttal of a prevailing trend in China,” and evidence of “a nascent, but growing, demand for increased privacy and data protections online.”
  • See a summary yesterday on SupChina about changes in China’s Nanny State and how citizens are reacting.

Continue reading

Online satirists driving a ‘youthquake’

Source: Sixth Tone (1/2/18)
The Online Satirists Driving China’s Very Own ‘Youthquake’
Behind the country’s keyboards, youngsters are resorting to humor in order to push for social change.
By Zeng Yuli

Recently, the Oxford English Dictionary named “youthquake” its word of the year. Defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people,” the compound word refers to the political awakening of young voters who played major roles in deciding election results in France, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand in 2017.

While Oxford primarily looks at events in Europe and America when choosing its word of the year, “youthquake” proved a fitting choice in East Asia as well. In Taiwan, young people played a crucial role in passing a marriage equality law in May. In South Korea, President Park Geun-Hye’s resignation was closely tied to polls showing 90 percent of young people had lost faith in her. Meanwhile, in Japan, after a 2016 revision of that country’s Public Office Election Law lowered the voting age from 20 to 18, there was a rise in the number of first-time voters during the 2017 election cycle. Continue reading

Beijing prof suspended after harassment allegations

Source: Sup China (1/2/18)
Beijing Professor Suspended After Sexual Harassment Allegations

A professor at Beihang University (北京航空航天大学 Běijīng Hángkōng Hángtiān Dàxué) has been suspended over accusations of sexual harassment made by a former student, as announced by the university on Sina Weibo on Monday.

The student, Luo Qianqian 罗茜茜, reported Chen to the university in October. She made her story public on Monday in a WeChat post that begins: “My name is Luo Qianqian, I entered Beihang as an undergraduate in 2000 and received my doctorate in 2011, I want to openly report Beihang professor of the Changjiang Scholars Program Chen Xiaowu 陈小武 for persistent sexual harassment of his female students.” She claims Chen sexually harassed multiple women in his 15 years as a teacher. She exhorts the women of Beihang, “Don’t be afraid, if you face harm, we need to have the courage to stand up and say no.” Continue reading

Making China great again

Source: The New Yorker (1/8/18)
Making China Great Again
As Donald Trump surrenders America’s global commitments, Xi Jinping is learning to pick up the pieces
By Evan Osnos

In an unfamiliar moment, China’s pursuit of a larger role in the world coincides with America’s pursuit of a smaller one. Illustration by Paul Rogers

When the Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II” arrived in theatres, in July, it looked like a standard shoot-’em-up, with a lonesome hero and frequent explosions. Within two weeks, however, “Wolf Warrior II” had become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Some crowds gave it standing ovations; others sang the national anthem. In October, China selected it as its official entry in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.

The hero, Leng Feng, played by the action star Wu Jing (who also directed the film), is a veteran of the “wolf warriors,” special forces of the People’s Liberation Army. In retirement, he works as a guard in a fictional African country, on the frontier of China’s ventures abroad. A rebel army, backed by Western mercenaries, attempts to seize power, and the country is engulfed in civil war. Leng shepherds civilians to the gates of the Chinese Embassy, where the Ambassador wades into the battle and declares, “Stand down! We are Chinese! China and Africa are friends.” The rebels hold their fire, and survivors are spirited to safety aboard a Chinese battleship. Continue reading

Real-life magic realism

Source: Quartz (12/22/17)
China’s real-life magic realism of 2017, according to Chinese netizens
By Zheping Huang

In the literary genre of magic realism, made popular by Latin American authors, fantastical elements emerge in an otherwise mundane, rational world. In China, the term is beloved by netizens who use it when surfacing the absurd in political and social phenomena they witness daily. It can describe a doctor who uses electric shocks to treat internet addiction in teenagers, or a top Buddhist monk who professes deep love for the Communist Party, to name just a few examples.

Earlier this week, Shanghai-based news site Q Daily published an opinion poll asking “What magic realism event of the year is beyond your understanding?” The idea, Q Daily explains, is to let users write about the real-life events that are “even more strange and disturbing than our wildest imagination,” and then vote for these posts with 👍. The poll instantly went viral before it got censored, not surprisingly. During its roughly 24-hour lifespan, the poll attracted nearly 20,000 participants, among the highest of any polls run by the site. Continue reading

Nanchang University dismisses deans over sexual assault

Source: Sup China (12/20/17)
Nanchang University Dismisses Two Deans Over Sexual Assault Scandal

Accusations of sexual assault and a subsequent cover-up in a Chinese university may have cost two deans their jobs.

On Tuesday, Weibo user @喝咖啡的猫11 (@Hekafeidemao11) published a post claiming Zhou Bin 周斌, as vice dean of Nanchang University in Jiangxi Province, lured multiple female students into joining a study group by offering them nice meals and private tutoring. Once they were in his group, Zhou would ask them for small favors — such as ordering takeout for him, going to his office to wake him up from afternoon naps, or giving him massages — all the while bragging about his dissolute romantic history.

@Hekafeidemao11 relates one specific case of a girl named Xiao Rou 小柔 (not her real name; also, the Weibo poster’s relationship with Xiao Rou is unclear). According to @Hekafeidemao11, in 2016, Zhou confessed his love to Xiao Rou, forced her to kiss him, and “played with his penis in front of her and molested her.” Continue reading

Top 10 society news stories of 2017

Source: Sup China (12/19/17)
Nanny Arsonists And Maggot-Infested Chicken — A Top 10 List Of Society News In China, 2017
By Jia Guo

Search engine giant Baidu released a report (in Chinese) on Monday, highlighting the most significant news, events, and people throughout the year in 2017. One of the lists in the report is the “Top 10 society events” of the year.

  • Beijing kindergarten scandal: A high-end kindergarten in Beijing operated by the New York Stock Exchange–listed company RYB Education, was accused of child abuse in November.
  • Kindergarten explosion: At least eight people were killed and 66 were injured in an explosion on June 15 outside a kindergarten in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province.
  • Tiger attack: A man was mauled to death by a tiger when he entered into its enclosure at a zoo in Ningbo in January.
  • Zhang Yingying missing: Zhang Yingying 章莹颖, a 26-year-old Chinese citizen, went missing on June 9 near the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was a visiting scholar. A man was arrested for her abduction, and the police presume she is no longer alive, although they have not yet found her remains. Continue reading

Top new searches in 2017

Source: Sup China (12/18/17)
Top news searches in China, 2017
By Jia Guo

China’s biggest search engine, Baidu, released a report (in Chinese) on Monday, highlighting the most significant news, events, and people throughout the year in 2017. One of the lists on the report featured the “Top 10 most-searched domestic news” this year.

  • Belt and Road Initiative: The initiative, first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is a network of transport and communications infrastructure across Asia and beyond.
  • Ping-Pong controversy: Liu Guoliang, head coach of the Chinese men’s national table tennis team, was removed from active coaching duties on June 23 by China’s General Administration of Sport. In protest, three of Liu’s former athletes didn’t show up at a major international table tennis competition in Chengdu.
  • Donald Trump goes to China: U.S. President Donald Trump had his first state visit to China in early November. Beijing rolled out a red carpet at the Forbidden City to welcome him. Listen to the Sinica podcast with Jane Perez on the visit.
  • The 19th Party Congress: The twice-in-a-decade Party meeting: This year, Xi Jinping thought was written into the Party constitution as his colleagues confirmed his status as “core.” Continue reading

Word of the year shortlist

Source: Sup China (12/11/17)
The Chinese Word Of The Year Shortlist

On December 9, a group led by the People’s Daily including a panel of “experts” from the National Language Resources Monitoring and Research Center, the Commercial Press, and Tencent’s published a shortlist of contenders for the country’s 2017 “Character of the Year and Word of the Year.”

  • The nominating process officially began on November 20, with millions of Chinese internet users submitting their picks.
  • The contenders that made the final list were selected and announced by the judging panel.
  • A recently popular word — “low-end population” — was perhaps in the news too recently to make the list. Most of the words on the list are highly positive, and several government buzzwords are included.

Here is the shortlist (in Chinese). Continue reading

Artist flees Beijing after filming mass evictions

To view the accompanying video clips, go to the NYT link.–Kirk

Source: NYT (12/13/17)
Artist Flees Beijing After Filming Devastation of Mass Evictions

HONG KONG — When Hua Yong, a painter in Beijing, first witnessed the eviction of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from the Chinese capital last month, he worried no one would believe the scope of it.

After a deadly fire in November, Beijing officials introduced an aggressive campaign to tear down apartment buildings and evict migrants from poorer sections of the city. Some residents were given just hours to leave.

Mr. Hua feared China’s strictly controlled news media would not cover the evictions accurately, so he decided to document and publish online his own videos of the crackdown.

Starting in November, he posted to YouTube and WeChat dozens of videos he shot with his mobile phone and a selfie stick. Often, he filmed himself walking past the rubble of demolished buildings, or interviewing the laborers who were promised work and a better life in the capital only to have everything suddenly upended.

It felt like a disaster, he said.

Continue reading

China’s Selfie Obsession

Source: The New Yorker (Dec 18 and 25, 2017)
China’s Selfie Obsession
Meitu’s apps are changing what it means to be beautiful in the most populous country on earth.
By Jiayang Fan

Illustration by Ji Lee

HoneyCC likes to say that she scarcely remembers the last time someone called her by her given name, Lin Chuchu. She took her online name from a 2003 movie starring Jessica Alba, about an aspiring hip-hop dancer and choreographer named Honey who catches her break after a music-video director sees a clip of her performing. Something similar happened for HoneyCC, who also trained in hip-hop dance, as well as in jazz and Chinese folk styles, and was equally determined to be discovered.

After an injury cut short her dancing career, a few years ago, she and some friends set up an advertising business. Many of her clients were social-media companies, and her work for them led to an observation about the sector’s development: first there was the text-based service Weibo, the largest social-media network in China at the time; then people started posting images. “But a single picture can only say so much,” she told me recently. “To really communicate a message, you need a video.” Continue reading