The three colored bands of the German national flag (black, red, and gold—just in case you forgot) have been receiving a whole lot of attention from netizens on Weibo recently, with some images of the flag receiving over 10,000 reposts. Why? The recent crackdown on prostitution in China’s ‘sex capital’ Dongguan has triggered a national debate on the legalization of prostitution in China, as well as what role the sex trade plays exactly in society.
There are a couple of interpretations, depending on what netizens’ views of the CCP are. First off, in the WuMao corner, we have “DaHei, ChangHong, SaoHuang” which translates as the party’s most recent high-profile campaigns: “Strike Corruption, Sing Communist Red, and Clean Up Prostitution.” In Chinese, “black” often serves as a euphemism for corruption, while “yellow” can mean “prostitution”, “horny”, or anything related to getting your rocks off.
Another theory that has garnered a lot of netizen support is more critical, with the black band referring to the corrupt nature of the ruling elite, the red band referring to the “bleeding” middle class who are paying the price for a life without privilege, and the gold (or yellow) referring to the lowest classes who have, out of desperation, resorted to selling their bodies for cash. The corrupt black band crushes, or exploits, the red band, which in turn does the same to the gold/yellow band. For a similar theory, the middle red band/class also serves as the face of the nation.
Since the literal translation of the Chinese word for Germany, “德国”, is “Land of Morality/Virtues”, netizens have also pointed to former CCP president Jiang Zemin’s slogan “rule by virtue.”
A less politically charged theory points to the “black mind” being corrupt, the “red heart” being passionate, while the “yellow [uh] nether regions” being horny.
Sonny Lo, professor at Hong Kong Institute of Education, recently published an editorial in the South China Morning Post regarding the recent bust in Dongguan, saying “the Dongguan campaign against prostitution is part of the bigger picture showing how Beijing is mapping out its economic modernization strategy in the coming years”, and ” it is likely that such anti-prostitution, anti-drugs, anti-gambling and anti-corruption policy winds will persist in the coming years.”
By Alex Stevens