A 23-year-old model living in Beijing has earned the dubious achievement of becoming the first person convicted of impersonating a police officer online.
The model, Wang Xiaomei, came to Beijing in 2007, and, after working for a time as a waitress and public relations rep, she started modeling. Hired by an advertising company for a publicity shoot in which she was dressed as a police officer, Wang thought nothing of sharing the photos online along with an obviously fake ‘back story’ to the photos (Wang’s profile made it clear she was a model, not a cop):
As a new cop in my hometown, I need to learn the basics. As one of the flowers of the force, I am under pressure. I have to eat and drink with government leaders every day. I am using my flower status to dine with the leaders and win contracts for projects and investments!
However, when Chinese netizens saw the photos they were outraged at was they saw was an attempt to impersonate a member of the People’s Police in a manner similar to the fake “sexy PLA colonel” outed in October.
According to the Beijing News (cn), Wang pleaded guilty in court to “impersonating a police officer” and producing images detrimental to the police service. Wang was given a suspended sentence of 9-months imprisonment.
It bears repeating that nowhere did Wang attempt to claim that she was actually anything other than a model dressed up as a police officer. Nevertheless, the knee-jerk netizen outrage machine, combined with an oversensitive justice system, while thankfully preserving this young woman’s liberty, have likely ruined any chance she would have of a modeling career. All because of some fucking photos.
Or was it just because of the photos, the inimitable Anthony Tao at Beijing Cream suspects a different motivation behind Wang’s harsh treatment:
Authorities have, in the past months, renewed emphasis on cracking down on rumors, particularly those that start from microblogs. But we’re guessing that Wang’s only fault was exposing — inadvertently — a truth: that government leaders are wined and dined by pretty young women, sometimes all day. And who wouldn’t bet that some of these women are models who moonlight as ladies from any number of professions, police included? Wang ruffled some feathers, and that’s why she now has to pay. In China, you can be as brash, sexy, and offensive as you want — you just can’t offend the wrong people.