Image via SCMP
“This is you before prison, this is you after.”
The poster above was plastered throughout Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, by local authorities before being hastily taken down after it sparked an epic innuendo-controversy online. The “Before Prison” and “After Prison” flowers were widely interpreted as, well, not exactly flowers.
South China Morning Post reports:
The simple propaganda poster apparently baffled many online, and led others to draw their own conclusions about its meaning.
Based on their online reactions, an overwhelming majority of commenters appeared to have interpreted the poster as a warning sign for potential criminals: break the law and you will face homosexual sexual abuse in prison. They reached that conclusion because in China’s popular internet culture, the word “chrysanthemum” is often used as a veiled reference for “anus,” with a heavy sexual connotation.
The Manzhouli court has responded, saying that “The court [poster’s] original intention was to warn people away from prison because [imprisonment] takes away one’s best years of his life, like a fading flower.”
Sure it was.