Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Thursday, September 7, 2006 at 1:44 PM
The latest incident to outrage China's Internet users is being dubbed 'Toiletgate' (厕所门) by some Chinese fourm posters. A Taiwanese model named Meng Guangmei (孟广美) who came to the Mainland ten years ago and built a career as a TV presenter and entertainer was invited to be a guest on Taiwanese talk show Hongse Fengbao (红色风爆). During the show, she talked about public toilets on the Mainland, saying that previously Mainland toilet didn't have doors, and mentioning some toilets near Tiananmen Square where she saw a hundred pale "asses".
Meng Guangmei dissing on China's toilets
An annoyed forum writer put up a post about how Meng has been happy to earn money from the Mainland for the last ten years, but now goes around outside saying bad things about the PRC. Sina republished the post on their home page (another Sina report here) as did several other websites such as Mop.com.
Miss Meng on Taiwanese TV
While some of the comments about Meng point out that there are indeed many awful toilets in China, others say that it is highly unlikely that a Phoenix TV presenter and celebrity such as Meng would ever use such toilets, so she was having fun on Taiwanese TV at the expense of Mainlanders.
Meng has apparently lost a job because of the uproar -- that's what she says at the end of this video in which she defends herself against her critics.
It is interesting to note that websites like Sina are becoming more and more powerful: from the Foxconn case to Meng Guangmei, Sina's editorial decisions have a lot of influence over Chinese Internet opinion. The video sharing sites are also playing an increasingly influential role.
Note: this post was updated several hours after it was first published.
UPDATE: The part where Meng talks about the toilets is not in the clip above; you can watch it here.
UPDATE 2: For much more detail and commentary on this case, see Sun Bin: Feeling the China Elephant 盲人摸象
Danwei Noon Report is cancelled today in protest at bad toilets, and bad people saying things about toilets
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