Do you remember what you were doing on May 18? Let us help you: You were reading a Shanghaiist post about Sex and Shanghai, a blog started by one “Chinabounder”, a British teacher living in Shanghai. In this blog Chinabounder wrote about his sexcapades, as well as scattered thoughts about sex and sexuality in China, Mao, the Cultural Revolution, and China in general.
We wish we could show you some of what he wrote, but his blog has been blocked, or rather is now invite-only. This is because this once popular blog caught the attention of Shanghai Academy of Social Science psychology professor Zhang Jiehai (张结海), who read the blog by accident on August 25, and became infuriated by a blog where he felt Chinese women had been reduced to sexual play-things and Chinese men were routinely ridiculed as “dull” and sexually incompetent.
On August 26, the professor penned a 5,000 character essay on his blog calling for the masses to rise up and unveil Chinabounder and “kick him out of China.” Professor Zhang criticized Chinabounder on four counts:
- 1. The use of dirty (i.e. sexual) language.
- 2. insulting Chinese men
- 3. insulting Chinese pride (Chinabounder, an English teacher, asked his students on August 17 “Why are the Chinese still angry at Japan sixty years after the war?”)
- 4. engaging in splittist propaganda (Chinabounder asked students “Should Xinjiang really a part of China?”)
Professor Zhang’s essay (read ESWN’s translation here) ended with this request:
If people think that there is a foreign language teacher who fits these descriptions, or otherwise find valuable clues, please leave a comment at my blog or contact me directly via email.
Netizens and compatriots, if you are a Chinese man with guts and if you respect Chinese women, please join this “Internet hunt for the immoral foreigner”! Let us act together!
I believe in the power of the Internet, because I believe in the power of the Chinese people!
This created a firestorm on the internet. People wanted to know who Chinabounder was. According to various reports, readers of the blog picked up the fact that Chinabounder in a British male teacher, 34-36-ish in age (they say he was born in year of the dog, which would make him 35 or 36), who works at Fudan or Jiao Tong University, whose name may be Brian. Heck, now there’s even a blog called Who is Chinabounder!.
On August 28, a defiant Chinabounder replied on his blog to Professor Zhang’s accusations — with the blog closed we don’t have the exact quote, but a Chinese translation suggests that he basically called Zhang a raving mad lunatic that likes to whip people up into nationalistic frenzy.
Of course, bloggers, Chinese and foreign, have been adding their two cents’ worth, and the story’s gotten big enough that the The Guardian wrote about it too.
What’s interesting is that Chinabounder is not just the self-described “scoundrel” that sleeps with a lot of women, but that both his behavior and actions touch a raw nerve on so many issues — Taiwan, Xinjiang, Sino-Japanese relations. Read the comments on the blogs and BBSs — you’ll find them more illuminating, in a way, than what either Zhang or Chinabounder have to say. There’s a a slew of mini-debates about whether the women in Sex and Shanghai were really being played (or if it was consensual), whether or not what Chinabounder did was intrinsically worse than what other teachers/foreigners do (except that he wrote about it), or whether or not such actions, even if deemed reprehensible, really deserve the kind of attention and “punishment” (getting kicked out of the country) that Zhang is calling for. Others are more interested in Chinabounder’s women, with some accusing them of being “trashy Shanghainese” women, while Zhang and others have tried to clarified that some of these women are not Shanghainese, etc.
Shanghaiist isn’t all that concerned about the sex. What about what Zhang says about Sino-Japanese relations? He praises the Israelis (he means the Mossad, we think) for going to South America to find Nazi officials in hiding and bringing them to stand trial in Israel. He says that if a small country like Israel can do that, then what’s wrong with China. We have to say that we find this a bit disturbing. Furthermore, on the issue of Taiwan: What if Chinabounder’s comments in the classroom were merely to the effect that Taiwan is, de facto if not de jure, an independent country? A description of the status quo is not the same as promoting Taiwanese independence.
One comment left on Zhang’s blog entry/essay says that whenever something goes wrong, Chinese people always look to blame others, and never examine themselves. The next entry asks “Are you a Japanese masquerading as a Chinese?” Nationalist diatribes veer into dangerous territory when women are involved because of the whole symbolism revolving around rape, violation, purity, etc. If horny white chicks were using Chinese men like sexual play-things, would there be a similar uproar?
In any case, Zhang has stated in an interview that he doesn’t care if Chinabounder is caught or not. Isn’t this something of an about-face? Evidently, he doesn’t think so — the lesson of this whole episode, he says, is that Chinese girls realize that even among foreign men, there are “trash.”
And he needed 5,000 words to say that. Sounds like a professor indeed.
Also on Shanghaiist:
So, this guy has lots of sex and writes about it on the internet