A news story which recently caught my attention was about the so-called “Shanghai streaker”. A young woman who had been going out at night and posing for nude photos at Shanghai tourist spots.
More recently a woman in Shanghai, thought to be the same person, was arrested bathing naked in a public fountain during the day. If it is the same person, then her escapades had certainly become a lot more bold.
I am interested in the case, in order to see how people in China respond to this case of public nudity.
The late night photos were certainly not harming anyone, and they did not deserve the press attention which they have received. I’ve known a lot of people post far more daring public photos. The only reason it even made the news is because of the attitude of the Chinese towards nudity.
I’ve added a selection of links to news articles on the story:
I am not aware of any uncensored versions of the photos being circulated, and so it seems that she and her accomplice are editing out the genitals on the photos before publishing them online. This does not seem like an exhibitionist act. she certainly wanted people to know that she had done these things, but even with the face pixilated out, she did not seem to want to have her uncensored naked body shown online.
This seems very far removed from the actions of the young lady caught on video when she was arrested bathing in a Shanghai fountain, in full view of a large number of people. Thus there is still a lot of doubt about whether they are the same person. There are also claims that it is an old video clip which the news companies had not properly investigated.
It is possible that these are the same person, or that the media attention which the Shanghai Streaker gained had prompted someone to cash in on her notoriety with an even bolder display.
Most of the news stories are just repeating the same material and there is very little to go on. My interest in this is not so much the antics of the streaker, but the Chinese response. I want to know what will happen to the girl in the fountain, and how harsh the legal response will be. It does seem as though the comments by Chinese officials to the initial pictures and their fear of her corrupting society was an overreaction. In the UK now, this would be completely ignored by the police. It is legal and harmless. Here in China the official response is far less tolerant. The girl may get a short jail term, but the Chinese also seem to ostracize those who don’t fit in, so it could have far reaching consequences for her.
other similar stories which I have since taken an interest in include the Russian student arrested meditating naked in the middle of the road in Haikou.
A group of police officers who were suspended for skinnydipping.
In that story there is no indication of any action being taken against the person who took the voyeuristic photos of them and posted them online. Given how hot it often gets in China, I can quite understand the desire to strip off for a quick plunge and am surprised at the harsh treatment of the officers. Yet this may be at least in part due to the report that they were all still on duty at the time.
Exhibitionist acts, like that of the Shanghai streaker, are not new to China. Li Binyuan was repeatedly seen streaking around Beijing naked, carrying a large crucifix.
Sometimes he carried a sex doll and in one case he was not alone in his streaking. I have yet to find reports of who his companion was.
Nudity, or at least near nudity, and sex dolls also featured in a student protest about music piracy.
It seems that mental illness is the official report given in quite a few stories of public nudity. Such was the case with a naked woman on the subway.
It was also the reason given for a man strolling naked along a road in Beijing.
There was also a story about a South African consul who was recalled “for health reasons” after being seen walking naked through the streets of Shanghai.
The overall impression from the media seems to be that people who are seen naked are either shamelessly self promoting criminals or else deranged, mentally disturbed people. There is definitely no sense of tolerance towards people who just feel like stripping off.