Beijing forbids sex and the West

Government bans steamy ads and Western magazines.


J.A. Getzlaff
March 21, 2000 10:00PM (UTC)

The Chinese government is busying itself with details in an attempt to rid its country of "moral pollutants," according to the BBC.

The fuss started in late 1999 with a television commercial promoting the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. Authorities quickly banned the spot, calling it an illegal promotion of sex products. Next, the French perfume Opium was whisked off store shelves because of its heady name. The government then moved on to the Chinese versions of Elle and Cosmopolitan magazines, requiring that their titles be changed and their front covers be purged of "Western influence" -- no easy feat.

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Hemlines and necklines are the latest victims of the government's diligence. A suggestive subway ad for an Internet site peeved officials, who did not like its comely model, her cleavage- and thigh-baring outfit and especially its tag line: "Are you bored with living?"

Their solution was to tear down the ads and invent new advertising regulations that require models to be covered from 5.9 inches below their necks to 5.9 inches above their knees. And that's not all -- "suggestive" slogans have been outlawed too, ensuring that, for the time being, the people's answer to the question "Are you bored with living?" will surely be yes.


J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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