Remember when you saw that sketchy fellow in the corner of the internet bar wanking off? OK, maybe you never have, but for the sake of argument let’s say you did — that person might very well not be your average porn connoisseur watching pre-made videos, but rather is watching live webcam “shows”, usually of a single woman. At first we thought this was merely the province of pocket pool players and exhibitionists, but thanks to this article (in Chinese), we have been disabused of that notion. You can, in fact make money off this, say, 4,000 RMB a month. We’re not quite sure we understand the description in this article about how it works — of course, there are paying members, and as a “performer”, you can accumulate points for how many people “tune in”. They can also send you virtual gifts, anything from roses to cars to houses — and you can eventually trade these in for money as well, because the members buy these virtual gifts using real money. What brought this particular case to the attention of the authorities (and then the media) was the fact that this woman eventually had to go to the police because she was being threatened. This despite the fact that one of the unspoken rules of the game is that you don’t show your face, reveal your identity, mobile phone number, etc. But this woman was lonely, got into this whole mess after a series of failed love affairs, and began developing relationships with some of her more loyal patrons. One of these patrons started getting possessive (men!) and wanted a private showing for 500 RMB. Evidently, he wanted a one hour, no holds barred, birthday suit performance, didn’t get it, and started threatening her. Another woman who was simply engaging in naked chats with a net friend (on a personal, not “professional” basis) eventually found herself getting blackmailed by this very same fellow, who was hard up and wanted to sell pictures he’d taken of her naked from his webcam for about 10,000 RMB a piece (there were 10 total).
China is trying to crack down hard on the smutty side of the net, and to this end has enlisted the help of the media to spread the word. Despite no dearth of reports, there have been very few “behind-the-scenes” exposes, partly, because like the journalist that wrote this report (in Chinese), once they manage to finagle their way into a private chat room, if they don’t themselves turn on their video cameras , they get kicked off immediately. No one likes cheap voyeurs.
On a slightly less unsavory note, Shanghaiist recently saw a report (and NO, we don’t go scouring the internet for such reports, they just magically find us) about a man that bought his teenage cousin a “girlfriend pillow” (女友抱枕) which, contrary to what you, sick, twisted reader, are thinking, is not a blow-up doll. It is less anatomically correct, for one, because it only consists of everything under a woman’s torso. It has white skin and shapely legs “clothed” in a red mini-skirt. Mr. Qin felt sorry for his younger cousin, who was slogging through all those tortuous exams and wanted to give him something to “relax” (放松) with. The kid’s parents were not pleased. According to that report, the store where he bought this 50 RMB steal was on Fuyou Lu (福佑路) which we gather is near the Cheng Huang Temple (城隍庙). When the reporter went to the store, they were told that they were out of stock of the “girlfriend”, but fortunately there were some “boyfriends” there. The boys are just chests and torsos, however. Resist the temptation to get holier-than-thou, readers. It’s miserably cold and rainy outside and for many of us, cold and lonely inside, too.