Sex sells. But in China, that doesn't make it okay.
Several homemade sex videos of China's number one car model, Shou Shou, leaked online earlier this year. The videos were made in 2007 and were apparently uploaded by a spurned lover, enacting revenge over their break-up.
As with American celebrities who have sex tapes, the model suddenly became the focus of attention. Online and in the media, it was debated whether Shou Shou (real name Zai Ling) was undermining morals. An online game company swooped this spring and offered Shou Shou the chance to represent its game "Xi You Ji" (Journey to the West).
The phenomena isn't limited to Shou Shou. Last month, a Shanghai-based game developer hired Japanese porn star Aoi Sola to represent game "Warrior OL". Sola is popular in China, and Chinese netizens even use proxy software so they can follow her on Twitter, a website that is blocked there.
Critics have said the using women involved in sex scandals or working in pornography to promote games is vulgar. Others defend the decision, pointing out that it breaks no laws.
China's Ministry of Culture has issued a notice that allows local officials to force game companies to delete content in online game promotions that is deemed inappropriate. The stipulation not only bans the use of sex, but also gambling and violence in game promotion. According to China Daily, Wu Jun, vice-president of 9you.com, which developed "Warrior OL", has stated that he welcomes the Ministry's decision.
While the questionable material will be banned from the game promotion, the BBC reports that it apparently will not be banned from the actual games. Many feel the decision to crack down on game promotions is superfluous. "It is unnecessary to ban the porn star advertisements," says Lin Chuan, a 24-year-old Beijing resident, "because the players do not really care who is the spokesperson of the game."
At the "Xi You Ji" press conference this past April, Shou Shou began crying when her sex videos were brought up.