Lessons from the Pope, Toiletgate and Chinabounder

The Internet mobs hunting for the philandering Chinabounder blogger seem to have cooled their tempers.

Some names of Shanghai-resident English teachers were bandied about the Internet as suspects, although no one seems to have confirmed whether those names did in fact belong to the person behind the the Sex and Shanghai blog (see ESWN and Shanghaiist if you don't know what this is about).

Professor Zhang Jiehai of the Department of Sociology in the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, who started the hunt for Chinabounder with a post on his blog, has now dedicated himself to restoring the sexual honor of China's men. His latest post is an interview with a French woman, titled French woman evaluates Chinese men's sexual ability.

The money quote: "There is no difference between Chinese and French men's sexual abilities".

The post is the fifth in the professor's new series: "unveiling the secrets of foreign women".

Last week's Internet scandal in which Mainland Net users took offence to a Taiwanese model's remarks about toilets on the Mainland, and her politically incorrect comments about Nanjing — is also disappearing off the "hottest topic" section of the nation's Internet forums (see this Danwei post for more about this case).

The Pope's remarks
Meanwhile, far to the west, the Pope returned to his alma mater the University of Regensburg where he gave a lecture on Tuesday last week. The lecture was a a meditation on faith and reason, the identity of Europe, and the merging of the Biblical and Greek traditions of thought. You can read the whole thing in English here.

In the third paragraph of the transcript, the Pope recounts a conversation between the "Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both".

The quotations used by the Pope have outraged many in the Muslim world, with protests against the Pope breaking out in many Muslim countries (The Guardian has a roundup of Muslim reaction).

It's all connected
There is a thread that ties these three cases together:

Each of these three people was speaking to a particular audience about a different group of people. Chinabounder recounted his encounters with Chinese women for an English speaking readership, Taiwanese model Meng Guangmei dissed on Chinese toilets on a Taiwanese talk show, and the Pope was discussing questions of the Catholic faith before an audience of at a European university.

Chinabounder's blog suddenly became viewable in China when the Blogspot service it was hosted on was unblocked, and within a fortnight Professor Zhang was on the case, trying to whip up a frenzy.

Meng Guangmei's remarks on toilets etc. were not broadcast on any Mainland TV station: people on this side of the Straits watched clips of her on Chinese video sharing websites.

The Pope's speech was published on the Internet sometime after Tuesday. By the time Friday prayers started in the Middle East and India, the parts of the speech deemed offensive by Muslims had been circulated widely enough to cause protests reminiscent of the Muhammad cartoon affair.

The moral of the story
If you speak in a public forum or publish anything at all on the Internet, do not be surprised when people who are hostile to you find it and react. When it comes to information, the global village is a reality, and many of the neighbors are very intolerant.

There are currently 3 Comments for Lessons from the Pope, Toiletgate and Chinabounder.

Comments on Lessons from the Pope, Toiletgate and Chinabounder

an interesting post-note

1) Meng Guangmei showed up in the Red Protest in Taipei. Those who criticized Meng in mainland might turn 180 degree now.

I feel very embarrassed for Professor Zhang Jiehai.

He is either very naive or else emotionally immature.

By calling for attacks on the
"Chinabounder" and now fishing for compliments from a "French" woman (why not an African?) on the sexual prowess of Chinese men, he exibits an extreme case of sexual and racial insecurity. How pathetic.

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