Front Page of the Day
Posted by Eric Mu on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 7:11 PM
Today's Beijing News reported a story on two teenage twin girls' being cheated and threatened into prostitution. The story is a little confusing and vague and best be taken with a grain of salt. The girls' blog and their story was reported in other Chinese media in May, but the Beiijing News article summarized below which was told to the journalist in an interview.
On May 30, the Public Security Bureau of Beijing's Haidian District received a letter reporting that under-aged girls were being forced into prostitution by a company called Yuanyuan Movie and TV studio. At around the same time, a letter began to circulate on the Internet. Apparently written by twin teenage girls named Baobao and Ahzi, the letter describes a shady and sinister company that played on the girls' hopes of stardom to trick them into prostitution and blackmail.
The twins, as seen in their own blog
That sexual favors are traded to get ahead in China's film and TV industries is no secret. It seems that this sex-for-role trade is becoming a norm and a unspoken rule (qian guize) of the business and some young women are willing to pay the necessary price to be famous. However, their willingness doesn't always lead to stardom.
The twin girls' story started last summer, when—by chance—they met a man named Meng Zhibang in a fast food restaurant. Meng introduced himself as a talent scout in the entertainment business. The twin sisters were so excited about the bright future Meng described to them. Meng told the sisters that they got wonderful potential to be famous in the entertainment business and he was just the person to help them to be what they want to be. The girls were credulous and easily tricked.
Then Meng demanded to have sex with the girls. They had already heard a lot about the unspoken rule in the industry and were eager to pay the price to be famous, and they complied. Talking to the newspaper about their motive, the girls said "We are neither the daughters of government officials, nor rich people. We are ordinary." and the only short-cut to success is through the unspoken rule.
But they didn't know that what they did in bed was videotaped, and was used to coerce them into selling sex to the company's clients, and then blackmailing them.
The girls were told to record their sexual liaisons with mobile phone cameras and MP3 recorders; the recordings were used to blackmail money from the clients. The clients are rich people, and some of them are famous businessmen. One client paid 1.2 million yuan after having sex with a 14-year-old," said one of female victim of the racket named Feifei.
The girls were allowed to keep half of the money they were paid by the clients, and turned the other half to the company.
According to the newspaper article, there were hundred of girls under the company's control, and they were all asked to bring in new ones.
Some of the girls were brainwashed and became so loyal to the bosses of the company that they even persuaded their friends to join them. The "brainwashing" included watching pornography videos along with reading Nabokov's Lolita" and Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex.
Baobao and Ahzi have been telling their stories through blogging. Most of their writing expresses a disillusion of family, education, moral values, society and love between man and woman. The twins also refer frequently to their identity as the generation born in the 1990s. The blog seems to draw quite a bit of traffic, even though it is not updated frequently.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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Danwei Model Workers
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Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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