In China, nudity, politics and corruption collide

China’s internet culture is both thriving and repressed. These contradictions are examined in my book, The Blogging Revolution.

This story below perfectly explains the power of the web, the inability of rural people to be heard in the country and sad gender politics:

Recently, “Yunnan Naked Girl” has become one of the hottest topic in the Chinese Internet world. A 21-year old girl, Peng Chunping decided to post her nude photos online in order to draw attention and help from the society. ESWN has translated a full report from Southern Weekend on the background of this girl, her petition journey and what she had been through in her “nude protest”.

According to Southern Weekend’s story, Peng was an orphan whose father was sentenced to death penalty in 2000 because of murder and her mother left the village for work on the same year. In 2003, when Peng was 15-year old, she started her journey to find her mother. She returned 2 years later and found that her household registration and house had been taken away. She blamed her family misery to local government’s oppression and started her petition journey.

Here’s an extracted translation of the girl’s tale:

Peng Chunping decided to continue to publish her so-called “nude photos” photos on the Internet.…  To avoid being scorned by netizens as being “as fat as a pig” again, she ordered some fruity weight-reduction capsules advertised on a television shopping program.

This girl who lives to wear white one-piece suits or white wide-collared t-shirts plus hot pants has always been very sensitive about body fat.…  Recently this 160cm-tall girl kept complaining to the reporter, “I now weigh 50 kilograms!”

This time, she has decided to have totally nude photos taken by a professional photographer.…  Previously, she only took photos with rented cameras, which yielded poor quality and effect.

Since July 2008, she has published three sets of nude photos.…  Each time, some media contacted her.…  But all her injustices have not been vindicated yet.…  This 21-year-old girl from a remote mountainous area did not attend school and held no steady job for the past four years.…  Her sole goal in life was to petition against the injustices at all costs.…  These costs include posting nude photos of herself in order to attract Internet traffic; offering her body to real or fake government officials, or reporters; finding “boyfriends” and even “fiancés” in order to raise the money to file petitions.

But not a single media report has been satisfactory to her — almost all the media were interested only in the nude photos and nobody paid attention to the “injustices.”…  They even directly or discretely indicated to her that her “injustices” were not valid.…  She would get angry, and even blame the reporters.…  Then she would take another media interview, get angry and blame the reporter all over again.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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