Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In as poor taste as the lunch buffet at the China Hut

In the past the Chinese government has responded to large scale disasters by imposing press blackouts.

But, with their Olympic coming out party looming, Beijing has been much more willing to let the information flow in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which has so far killed over 40,000.

How has the Chinese press responded to these new freedoms in a time of crisis? Well, a Chinese magazine called The New Travel Weekly went all Girls Gone Wild in their earthquake coverage by having lingerie-clad models pose amid the wreckage for an issue that hit newsstands on the first day of China's national day of mourning for the quake's victims.

While this may have drove up traffic at the weekly's website, it also attracted the attention of government censors, who declared that the ghoulish glamour shoot "seriously violated propaganda discipline" and was an "extremely evil social influence."

The issue was pulled and the magazine's editorial leadership sacked.

Maybe one day Chinese provocateurs will master the kind of tastelessness that drives so much of the consumer culture China has begun to embrace. But for now its envelope-pushers are making charges like "seriously violated propaganda discipline" sound sensible.

Western-style exploitation isn't as easy as it looks.


Anonymous said...


JT said...

I tried to find pictures, but it seems like the Chinese government is still pretty good at making things disseapear when they need to.