To start off our Holiday Superlatives extravaganza, let’s take a good look here at home first. Wonder what Shanghaiist readers were flipping through this year? Here are the top five most looked at stories from January to June of 2009.
5. The Plight of China’s Xiaojies: We were impressed by former police officer turned sociologist Zhao Jun’s work documenting the problems of China’s sex workers, and it seems that you were too. Zhao Jun discussed the abuse, murder and lack of legal representation of this Chinese underclass and some of his findings were mind boggling – for instance, did you know that “40% of murder cases in Beijing were xiaojies?”
4. References to communism, dissent in Obama speech censored by Chinese media: Who knew that less than a year after U.S. President Barack Obama said the words, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist…” he’d be visiting Shanghai… just to get his speech censored again in-country? Ah well, it’s been a life altering year for Obama and a life altering year for China, but some things, we suppose, will remain the same.
3. New CCTV headquarters in Beijing up in flames… stray fireworks to blame?: Chinese New Year 2009 came with a bang… but in a way nobody predicted. In February, errant illegal fireworks set off, ironically, by bigwigs at China’s official television department CCTV ignited the yet-to-be-finished TVCC building. The titanium coating wasn’t the only thing that resulting fire burned off; apparently it also uncovered questionable financial deals made by high-level CCTV executives.
2. Adult entertainment studio Harmony Films wants to offer ‘Kappa Girl’ a real job: One of the big amateur sex video stars of late 2008 makes its reappearance in early 2009 and builds up steam from there. Yep, months after Kappa Girl first made her debut online, the fact that a U.K.-based adult video firm would be interested in hiring her for professional porn got everybody’s mouses a-clickin’.
1. Those sexy photos of Zhang Ziyi topless on the beach canoodling with her fiance Vivi Nevo…: Yes! Zhang Ziyi photo gate was the top story of January (and actually, the rest of the year). While it never got as big as the Edison Chen scandal – we suppose sexy photos aren’t that interesting when it’s just between two people rather than… twenty some – Zhang Ziyi’s beach-side antics with Israeli tycoon fiance Vivi Nevo were still curious enough to warrant quite a lot of attention and have doomsayers predict the death of her career.
She bounced back from the negative publicity later in the year though, even using it to her advantage when promoting her directorial debut, Sophie’s Revenge (非常完美). The film, despite being a pretty mediocre rom-com, ended up doing quite well at the box office – 97 million RMB by some counts.
Photo depicts a prostitute bust in Henan, where pictures leaked of police officers roughly handling the prostitute and her client enraged netizens, who thought the force the authorities exhibited excessive.