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Fifty Shades of ‘Vulgar’ – BDSM Lifestyle Slammed by Chinese Media

A young couple from Dalian recently made headlines in China by posting kinky pictures of their BDSM lifestyle on Weibo. According to experts quoted by Chinese media, their “sexual abuse addiction” can – and should be – cured.

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A young couple from Dalian recently made headlines in China by posting kinky pictures of their BDSM lifestyle on Weibo. According to experts quoted by Chinese media, their “sexual abuse addiction” can – and should be – cured.

A man who calls himself a “master” (主人) and a woman who calls herself his “slave” (奴隶) recently caught the attention of Chinese media after they repeatedly put kinky pictures on Weibo. The pictures, that feature the girl kneeling on the ground in various places, some with red skin from being slapped, were soon deleted after they made the news and local police intervened.

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The only two pictures made available by Chinese media.

Journalists came across the pictures when a concerned netizen tipped them about the unconventional couple.

 

“The couple suffers from a disease called ‘sexual abuse addiction’. ”

 

Chinese state media outlet Global Times, often called the Party mouthpiece, dedicated an article to the couple on September 27. According to the article, the two have been posting their self-taken pictures since this summer.

Some photos depicted ropes and cuffs, with the woman’s bruises clearly visible. According to Global Times, many Weibo netizens were “disgusted” with the “vulgar” pictures.

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An expert interviewed by Global Times says that the couple suffers from a disease called ‘sexual abuse addiction’ (性虐待成瘾).

 

“’Sexual abuse addiction’ conflicts with China’s social norms.”

 

Global Times writes that “sexual abuse addiction” conflicts with China’s social norms. According to China’s leading psychologist Zhao Xiaoming (赵小明), the causes of this ‘disease’ are complex and can be traced back to childhood abuse or sexual violence, leading people to search for “abnormal stimulation” as an adult.

The public display of ‘sexual abuse addiction’ negatively affects individuals and society at large, the article argues, but can be completely cured. The Weibo couple should, therefore, “seek professional medical attention” in order for them to be able to “lead a happy life”.

 

“Clearly, this is just art, but you say it is vulgar.”

 

On Weibo, the accounts of the man and woman mentioned have been emptied of any pictures from before September 26. The woman, nicknamed Nuo Xiaozhao (@诺小昭), commented: “I didn’t expect this. But my conscience is clear.”

reaction2

The man (@黑黑老大爷主人) only posted: “Our pictures have nothing to do with you. Right, my little slave Nuo Xiaozhao?”

reaction1

He also posted a picture, writing: “Clearly, this is just art, but you say it is “vulgar”. This storm will blow over and we will continue.”

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One female netizen wrote to the woman: “I respect every kind of lifestyle, people are entitled to do their own private things. I understand you, and everything will be ok. I’ll support you!”

Other netizens also offer their support, saying: “Believe in yourself!”

Some pictures previously posted by the couple also leaked online through various Chinese blogs (update 6 Dec 2017: we were forced to take these photos, that did not contain any nudity, offline by Google censors as long as we display Google Ads on this website. Sorry.)

One Weibo user comments: “Actually I think different people will have different views on this. Some will think you have no sense of shame. That’s because in China we’ve always been conservative. The people who applaud you also don’t necessarily approve of you – they just want to see your pictures and fantasize about them.”

“If they like it, what does it matter?” another netizen writes: “What does the police have to do with it?!”

 

“A crusade against vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content.”

 

BDSM is a variety of roleplaying involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, that gained much attention after the popular Fifty Shades of Grey book series and movie.

Its popularity is evident on China’s e-commerce giant Taobao, where dozens of sellers offer accessories related to BDSM.

Although Fifty Shades of Grey was banned from cinemas in mainland China, the film found its way to Chinese streaming sites and DVD stores. Since it was heavily censored with all sex scenes cut out, the Chinese version was much shorter than the American one.

China censors have been on a crusade against “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content”. Regulations implemented earlier this year ban any content that “exaggerates the dark side of society”. Homosexuality, extramarital affairs, one night stands, underage relationships are all illegal on screen.

 

“Most Chinese even have no basic knowledge about sex, let alone alternative sexual practices like BDSM.”

 

The recent article in Global Times is especially noteworthy because the newspaper published an article with an entirely different tone in 2015.

The article, simply titled “BDSM in China“, refuted that BDSM was a form of sexual perversion or abuse.

Peng Xiaohui, a Chinese sexologist, stated in the article that BDSM comes with mutual, informed consent, where the level of stimulation is discussed and agreed upon in advance. According to the sexologist, it is therefore much different from sexual abuse, which is “arbitrary and reckless, intended to hurt the victim, and constitutes a criminal offence.”

Global Times further quotes Peng by writing that BDSM has a bad name in China due to ignorance and prudishness when it came to sex. “There’s a huge gap in attitudes toward BDSM in China and other countries,” Peng said: “Most Chinese even have no basic knowledge about sex, much less about alternative sexual practices [like BDSM].”

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Robin Dahling

    October 3, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    There are any number of fetish groups and organizations in China that keep a low profile because of these attitudes; groups meet anonymously in public and form connections and build off them, but whenever in public, the discussions are kept neutral to avoid drawing attention.

    Regardless of the government’s position, the communities are supportive and understanding, and continue to grow.

  2. KRIS

    October 14, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I am dominant in China, and practice SM, but it should not become public, it is private.
    As usual in China, people are ready to do everything to create buzz and be famous.
    It is not the Right things to do… of no.
    Good article and analyze.

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China and Covid19

Confusion over Official Media Report on China’s “Next Five Years” of Zero Covid Policy

Netizens interpreted this as a sign that China’s current Covid strategy would continue at least five more years.

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‘The next five years’: four words that flooded Chinese social media today and caused commotion among netizens who interpreted this as written proof that China’s current Covid strategy would continue for at least five more years. But the Beijing Daily editor-in-chief has since responded to the issue, blaming reporters for getting it all mixed up.

On June 27th, after the start of the 13th Beijing Municipal Party Congress, Chinese state media outlet Beijing Daily (北京日报) published an online news article about a report delivered by Beijing’s Party chief Cai Qi (蔡奇).

The article zoomed in on what the report said about Beijing’s ongoing efforts in light of China’s zero-Covid policy, and introduced Beijing’s epidemic prevention strategy as relating to “the coming five years” (“未来五年”).

Those four words then flooded social media and caused commotion among netizens who interpreted this as a sign that China’s current Covid strategy would continue at least five more years. Many people wrote that the idea of living with the current measures for so many years shocked and scared them.

Soon after, the article suddenly changed, and the controversial “coming five years” was left out, which also led to speculation.

Beijing Times editor-in-chief Zhao Jingyun (赵靖云) then clarified the situation in a social media post, claiming that it was basically an error made due to the carelessness of reporters who already filled in information before actually receiving the report:

I can explain this with some authority: the four-word phrase “the next five years” was indeed not included in the report, but was added by our reporter[s] by mistake. Why did they add this by mistake? It’s funny, because in order to win some time, they dismantled the report’s key points and made a template in advance that “in the next five years” such and such will be done, putting it in paragraph by paragraph, and also putting in “insist on normalized epidemic prevention and control” without even thinking about it. This is indeed an operational error at the media level, and if you say that our people lack professionalism, I get it, but I just hope that people will stop magnifying this mistake by passing on the wrong information.”

Global Times commentator Hu Xijin (@胡锡进), who used to be the editor-in-chief and party secretary of the state media outlet, also weighed in on the incident in a social media post on Monday. He started his post by saying that the reporter who initially made the phrase ‘next five year’ go viral had a “lack of professionalism” which caused the overall misunderstanding.

Hu also added a photo of the relevant page within the original report that was delivered at the Congress, showing that the phrase ‘the coming five years’ was indeed not written before the segment on China’s battle against Covid, which detailed Beijing’s commitment to its strict epidemic prevention and control measures.

But Hu also added some nuance to the confusion and how it came about. The original report indeed generally focuses on Beijing developments of the past five years and the next five years, but adding the “in the next five years” phrase right before the segment was a confusing emphasis only added by the reporter, changing the meaning of the text.

Hu noted that the right way to interpret the report’s segment about China’s Covid battle is that it clarifies that the battle against the virus is not over and that China will continue to fight Covid – but that does not mean that Beijing will stick to its current zero Covid policy for the next five years to come, including its local lockdowns and restrictions on movement.

Hu Xijin wrote:

I really do not believe that the city of Beijing would allow the situation as it has been for the past two months or so go on for another five years. That would be unbearable for the people of Beijing, it would be too much for the city’s economy, and it would have a negative impact on the whole country. So it’s unlikely that Beijing would come up with such a negative plan now, and I’m convinced that those in charge of managing the city will plan and strive to achieve a more morale-boosting five years ahead.”

After the apparent error was set straight, netizens reflected on the online panic and confusion that had erupted over just four words. Some said that the general panic showed how sensitive and nervous people had become in times of Covid. Others were certain that the term “next five years” would be banned from Weibo. Many just said that they still needed time to recover from the shock they felt.

“The peoples’ reactions today really show how fed up everyone is with the ‘disease prevention’ – if you want to know what the people think, this is what they think,” one Weibo user from Beijing wrote.

To read more about Covid-19 in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Health & Science

“Experts Are Advised Not to Advise”: Why Weibo Users Are Fed Up with ‘Expert Advice’

Experts say this, experts say that, but many social media users wish experts would say nothing at all.

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Over the past week, the topic of “experts are advised not to advise” (建议专家不要建议) has been trending on Chinese social media. The topic came up after netizens got annoyed over a bunch of news items containing contradicting or ungrounded advice and suggestions from ‘experts.’

One column published by Worker’s Daily stated that three different expert advice topics went trending on Weibo on the very same day, on May 19: “Experts recommend young people not to spend all of their family money on a downpayment for a house,” “Experts advise buying a house is more profitable than renting,” and “Experts suggest that from June to October is the best time to buy a house.”

‘Expert advice’ goes trending on Chinese social media on a daily basis in hashtags. The source is mostly Chinese state media quoting an expert’s opinion on a certain topic.

Looking at some Weibo hashtags including the ‘experts suggest that..’ sentence include: “Experts advise to go to bed between 10 and 11 pm”, “Experts suggest not to eat too much at night,” and “Experts advise not to do new year’s resolutions in January,” “Experts recommend not to wait to drink water until you’re thirsty,” “Experts advise to release the ‘Three Child Policy’ asap”, “Experts suggest that eating too many mandarin oranges will turn the skin yellow,” “Experts advise single rural men to move to the city,” “Experts recommend retirement age to be set to 65,” “Experts advise national exam’s foreign language subjects to change into a chosen subjects,” “Experts advise not to use air fryers too much,” and many, many more.

According to this Weibo column, the most common topics that experts give their recommendations about are eating and drinking, sleep, childbearing, education, retirement, women’s issues, young people, and housing.

“Advise experts not to advise” sign (Image via CFP供图, Bwanjia)

The main reasons why people are getting tired of ‘expert advice’ headlines are that alleged expert views are often used by (state) media to publicize their own standpoints or views. Others are also concerned that some ‘experts’ are only speaking out on certain topics because they are getting paid for it, and then many people think that self-proclaimed experts are giving unfounded advice.

Another reason why expert advice is becoming much-dreaded is that experts are often giving contradicting advice. Instead of being helpful, their recommendations are only confusing to readers, and they only lose more trust in experts because of it.

The distrust in “experts advise” news became all the bigger when one ‘expert’ quoted in a news item by Lizhi News about the risks of using air fryers posted on Weibo herself that she was never interviewed and never even said anything about the topic at all.

By now, the hashtag “Advise Experts Not to Give Advice” (#建议专家不要建议#) has been viewed over 930 million times on Weibo.

“I advise the media not to use one expert after the other just to spread their own views,” one commenter says, with another person writing: “First of all, is there an academic degree for being an expert? Or is it a title? Is it based on years of experience, does it require an assessment? (..) Why is it that every time someone opens their mouth you say they’re an “expert” without first giving a clear account of the person’s life and background?”

“Jus advise experts not to advise anymore,” another commenter writes.

But not longer after the online discussions, Chinese media outlets started their ‘experts suggest..’ posts again, leading to the creation of a whole new hashtag: “Here come the experts again!” (#专家又来建议了#).

By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Miranda Barnes

Image via Weibo

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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