Contestants on ‘If You Are The One’. Photo from jsdushi.com
It seems ‘gold-diggers’ will be victims of the latest crackdown aiming to restore ‘morality’ to China. After a contestant on the Jiangsu Television matchmaking show, ‘If You Are The One’ (非诚勿扰), said she was after a wealthy man with a flashy car, government officials ordered all matchmaking shows in China to get rid of sexual innuendo and ban any talk of women ‘gold-digging’.
Government censors added that such materialistic attitudes were the equivalent of prostitution, which has been dealt with firmly of late. In April, public security police in Beijing shut down 33 entertainment venues allegedly doubling up as brothels, including karaoke bars, massage parlours and nightclubs. Last month, Chongqing’s Hilton hotel was also shut down by police, with 22 people being arrested on suspicion of running a prostitution ring.
Authorities have also been clamping down on pornography and sex-related entertainment that, in the words of a police spokesman, may be “seriously damaging [to] the physical and psychological health of young people.” Online pornography, in particular, has been heavily censored over the past two years for, in the eyes of various government agencies, “violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of youth and young people.” According to the same police spokesman, such campaigns aimed to “eradicate all social evils” and “advocate a healthy, civilized and high-minded lifestyle,” the Washington Post reported.
‘If You Are The One’, however, was the last straw.
On the show, a bachelor confronts 24 single women who fire a range of questions at him. The women have lights in front of them, which they switch on or off to indicate whether the contestant should remain on the show. One of the most controversial statements came from a female contestant who was offered a bicycle ride by an unemployed bachelor that she would “rather cry in a BMW than ride a bicycle while laughing.” The woman has since been banned by authorities from appearing on other television stations.
However, speaking to the Washington Post, journalist Li Datong seemed convinced the crackdown would not last in an urbanising China with increasingly liberal sexual attitudes. “Society is more tolerant talking about sex than the government,” he said.
Also adding to public skepticism are the sticky situations CCP officials have found themselves in, receiving much online and offline discussion. Earlier this year, the secret diary of the Guangxi Tobacco Sales Bureau Director, Han Fen, was published online, detailing his liaisons with six mistresses. Han was suspended and remains under investigation.
“Publicly, they [government officials] want to build themselves this high moral image,” Li added. “But behind the scenes is a different story.”