Hooters Restaurant Underscores Mixed Sexual Messages in China

The Los Angeles Times pays a visit to Hooters Beijing:

On the scale of China’s sexual evolution, Hooters lands somewhere between a wink and a smile. Unthinkable two decades ago, the restaurant promotes a playful kind of sexuality different from the country’s seedy massage parlors and hostess bars, and yes, it serves the chain’s famous wings too.

The restaurant may be another example of globalization in China, but it’s also a snapshot of changing attitudes toward sex in a country full of contradictions. Gone are the days when public displays of affection were frowned upon, although selected things remain off-limits.

Pornography is strictly prohibited. A government campaign last year netted 5,000 arrests for distributing porn online. The crackdown even extended to dirty jokes sent to cellphones.

Last summer, local officials blocked the opening of a sex-themed park named “Love Land” in Chongqing that featured a large collection of genitalia sculptures, calling it an “evil influence.”

Yet authorities turn a blind eye when it comes to illegal brothels. Often disguised as hair salons, they remain one of the most common sights in any city, operating unabated next door to businesses and schools without the slightest fuss from locals.

April 10, 2010 9:23 AM
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