This morning we came across two pieces of news, both about sex and sexuality in China, one interesting, the other depressing.
We’ll start with the good news. The Fourth Guangzhou sex festival kicked off on Saturday. We don’t know for sure, but it seems that Guangzhou is a pretty liberal and tolerant place when it comes to sex and sexuality — a report from two years ago said that they were planning on including sex education in their curriculum, in some cases as early as kindergarten! Of course, no sex festival can be complete without an underwear show. That report (in Chinese) begins with this line: 今日上午10点20分，广州东宝展厅上演情趣内衣模特真人秀，将第四届性文化节推向了高潮。 (“Today at 10:20 in the morning, Guangzhou Dongbao Exhibition Hall hosted the qingqu underwear model show, which brought the Fourth Annual Guangzhou Sex Festival to a climax”). Two things to point out there: One, we don’t know how to translate qing qu and the other is that 高潮 gao chao is a bit of a double-entendre, which, despite being commonly used in Chinese in a non-sexual way, tends to make us snicker, because we’re still adolescents at heart.
Our favorite sexologist, Li Yinhe, got in trouble again because she maintains that if sexual behavior 1. occurs between adults, 2. is consensual, and is 3. private, there should be no reason not to allow such behavior. Consistent with this principle, she believes that swapping spouses (换‘偶) is fine as long as the three conditions mentioned above are satisfied. And of course, none of the other experts and officials were willing to go with her on this one, saying that it was against Chinese sexual morality, blah blah blah — missing the point that she is not advocating spouse swapping, but merely pointing out that it is consistent with the three conditions mentioned above, and therefore should be no categorically rejected as aberrant or intolerable behavior.
The other story is about forced prostitution in Shanxi province. The targets of these crimes were young girls that were later forced into prostitution. The article details the harrowing experiences of these girls, from being kidnapped (grabbed off the streets into vans), to being raped and beaten. One of the ringmasters was an eighteen year old girl herself:
朔州市某校13岁的初二学生王红（化名）就是在网吧门口被王宝荣等人强行拉上一辆面包车的。途中，王红看见好友李玉（化名）站在路边，刚想呼救，被王宝荣发现，马上命令“把她也拉上”。上了车，王宝荣对两个女孩不由分说，先是一顿耳光伺候。(Wang Hong [a pseudonym], a second year middle school student at a school in Shuo Zhou city, was at the entrance of an internet bar when she was was forced onto a mini-van by Wang Baorong and others. On the road, Wang Hong saw her good friend Li Yu [pseudonym] and wanted to call out to her, but Wang Baorong noticed and immediately ordered that she be captured as well. As soon as she forced into the car, Wang Baorong didn’t say anything to the girls and slapped them instead.)
以下是记者和王宝荣的简单对话。“每搞到一名少女，你挣多少提成？” (The following are questions that the reporter put to Wang Baorong. “Everytime you kidnapped a young girl, how much extra money did you get?”)
“（多少）不等，有时能换一辆摩托车。”“都是女孩，你怎么忍心把她们推向火坑？” (“How much? No fixed amount, sometimes I could get a motorcycle.” “These were all girls, how could you push them into the fire?”)
“她们自己就有问题，苍蝇不叮无缝的蛋。” (“These girls all had problems themselves, a fly can’t sting an egg that has no cracks”)
“你做这事觉得丢人吗？”“（笑）如果我有车、有房，我很光荣，我是小姐。” (“Don’t you think that doing this is degrading?” [Laughs] “If I have a car, a house, then I should be proud, I am a xiao jie.”)
“你才18岁，怎么会有这样的想法？” (“You are only 18 years old, how could you think like that?”)
“社会上不都是这样吗？”说这句话的时候，王宝荣神情淡漠。 (“Isn’t society like that anyway?” Wang Baorong’s expression, after saying this, was calm and nonchalant.)
Most of the victims were locked up in hotels. The people at the hotels are being investigated as well, though one of them, when asked why they tolerated this, said that the presence of xiao jie’s meant better business for them, and that as long as she did her job, that’s all that mattered.
Some of the girls plotted an escape, but “Zhu San,” one of the male ringleaders, got wind of this through “spies” that would rat out whoever planned to escape or otherwise seek help.
After “work,” the girls were forced to watch video and receive “training” so that they could become better xiao jie’s. Their “trainer” — one Hao Xiaoqing — said that she was doing this “for their own good.”
Read the original article (in Chinese) here.
Photo from health.163.com.