A Place Where Capitalism and Hedonism Meet
The 11th Annual National Sex Culture Festival (第十一届全国广州性文化节) was held in Guangzhou from November 8-10. A report from the New York Times describes the exposition as a place where capitalism and hedonism meet head on, all under the watch of the Communist Party:
Filling an exhibition center here in the capital of Guangdong in southern China, the festival was a three-day mating ritual between capitalism and hedonism, all diligently observed by that most prudish of chaperones: the Chinese government. Erotic possibilities abounded, including a transgender fashion show, sliced deer antler marketed as an aphrodisiac, naughty nurse costumes and some flesh-color objects disconcertingly called “Captain Stabbing.”
Three decades after China began shedding its priggish Mao-era mores, sex is now a big business here. Across the country, pink-lit “hair salons” staffed by provocatively garbed women compete with massage parlors and late-night paid companions who slip their business cards under hotel room doors. Those looking to enhance their encounters can shop at countless “adult health product” stores and on the Internet.
In an attempt to give the sex festival a veneer of respectability, government-run medical organizations sponsored booths in a side room, which were, unsurprisingly, desolate. The main draw was lust.
Thousands of visitors, nearly all middle-aged men wielding cameras, poured through the aisles in search of any visible flesh. […] [Source]
Photo galleries from the Times or NetEase display scenes from the gathering, as does a video available on YouKu. The male-heavy attendance, directly reflecting China’s skewed gender ratio, is easily apparent.
Weeks after industry reps, models, sex toys, and potential patrons were gathered in Guangzhou, the government has ordered major Chinese Internet companies to clean up “obscene” and “lascivious” content. From Xinhua:
Popular websites, including news portal Sina, search engine Baidu and social networking Tianya, have been ordered to make changes after being found to have carried pornographic content, according to the National Office against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.
The office found Sina’s blogging and file-sharing sites carried “obscene” fiction such as “Lascivious story of a tutor” and “Queen and Lolita,” Baidu had stories such as “Mansion of desire,” and Tianya had stories such as “Ten women.”
Authorities in Beijing have talked with the management of Sina and Baidu, ordering them to delete the vulgar content and clean up their blogging, file-sharing and social networking services. More than 145,000 posts containing vulgar information have been removed, and 103 user accounts were shut down.
The two websites were fined 30,000 yuan ($4,900) each. [Source]
Last year, Peking Duck blogger Richard Burger published Behind the Red Door, a survey of sexuality in Chinese history and a look at the country’s burgeoning sexual revolution (also see CDT Bookshelf’s review of the book). For more on sexuality, China’s sex industry, government sex scandals, or ongoing government anti-vulgarity campaigns, see prior CDT coverage.