China wants its citizens to behave.From water parks to subways, officials are cracking down on what they fear could be a new wave of immoral sex after a video of a couple making love in a Beijing Uniqlo store fitting room became the country's hottest topic.
Now, say the words "Uniqlo" or "fitting room" and you'll get knowing smiles from just about anyone in China who's been on the Internet.But the government has had enough. Authorities have spoken to executives of Chinese Internet companies and chastised their social networks' role in spreading the indecent material, which opposed "core socialist values."
That hasn't stopped streams of visitors taking selfies outside Uniqlo's flagship store in Sanlitun. Hundreds of miles away from Beijing, a water park in the megacity of Chongqing hung up signs banning sex in the pool.
Li Yinhe, a renowned Chinese sociologist, told CNN a feverish interest in sex scandals could represent a "rebound" after years of repression.The sociologist suggested part of the appeal has to do with the government's tough stance on porn, which has been banned since the Communist Party took over in 1949.
Tradition and laws making sex a taboo in China date back thousands of years, to the 10th-century Song Dynasty. But Li says sexual repression reached its peak during1960s and 1970s. At the time, "having sex was only meant for reproduction。" she said.
In the 1980s, said Li, it was not uncommon for people to be sentenced to death for having sex parties or selling pornographic products and publications.It wasn't until 1997 when sexual repression was lifted in China. Since then, China has experienced a sexual liberation. More than 70% of Chinese people have premarital sex, said Li, citing a recent survey.
Even today, many traditional attitudes toward sex remain — sexist double standards, say some. As Li put it: "Essentially it's a patriarchal society where men can enjoy sex while women shouldn't. The double standard has been existed for thousands of years."