中国法律博客
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Still Not Understanding China's Cultural Hang-ups
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I keep returning to this issue for some reason. The resources that have been put into policing efforts against pornography, sexting, and "improper" game content is amazing.

As I've said before, at least in religious countries I understand the motivation behind similar policies. I still find it irrational and idiotic, but at least I can drill down to the reasons for the rules. If a government official can say "God hates naked breasts," then hey, what are you going to do?

However, the cultural antecedents to all of this in China are much more complicated, and I frankly do not understand the sensitivity to anything involving sex, nudity, homosexuality, etc.

Perhaps I have a higher standard for China than I do for other nations/cultures. A country that is officially free from the taint of organized religion is a wonderful thing. I naturally assume that it should also be free of other historical cultural baggage that is equally nonsensical (this explains my rant the other day against feng shui).

The seriousness of the anti-porn efforts cannot be exaggerated. Just this week, thirteen people were given prison sentences, ranging from eight months to ten years, for uploading porn onto a website and obtaining illegal profit.

Ten years. That's nothing more than sending a message to other pornographers that the government is deadly serious about cleaning up that sector. (I could add something here about a monkey and a chicken, but seeing as it is one of the most used, and abused, sayings by foreigners, I think I'll avoid the temptation.)

Somehow I can't square this with the possibility that we might have to deal with full-body scanners at Chinese airports in the near future. I have no problem with these types of scanners personally, but if someone is unlucky enough to have to look at an image of me with no clothes on, well, that's a nascent mental disorder and a drain on public health resources. You'd think that the porn police might step in.

I guess security concerns trump bare asses and wee-wees.

At least it appears that the sexting brouhaha is settling down, but just in case this continues to be a problem, for reference purposes I'm going to excerpt the beginning of my favorite essay on the subject of language:

I love words. I thank you for hearing my words.
I want to tell you something about words that I think is important. They're my work, they're my play, they're my passion. Words are all we have, really.

We have thoughts, but thoughts are fluid. Then we assign a word to a thought, and we're stuck with that word for that thought. So be careful with words. I like to think that the same words that hurt can heal; it's a matter of how you pick them.

There are some people that are not into all the words. There are some that would have you not use certain words. There are 400,000 words in the English language and there are 7 of them you can't say on television.

What a ratio that is! 399,993 . . . to 7. They must really be bad. They'd have to be outrageous to be separated from a group that large. "All of you over here, you 7 . . . Bad Words."

That's what they told us they were, remember? "That's a bad word!"

No bad words. Bad thoughts, bad intentions . . . and words.

Always the voice of reason, even posthumously.

Well, I suppose that I'll have to chalk this up to my ignorance. Maybe some day I'll educate myself sufficiently to be able to understand why nudity is such a threat to a modern, non-theocratic state. Then again, maybe there is no good explanation.

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