Pornography Should be Legal in China

Shoushou car model.

Much has been said about the most recent round of internet blockings and arrests which, as ever, have been passed under the flag of “sweeping away the yellow”, i.e., eliminating pornography. This campaign, as with those that came before it, has been waged haphazardly, and the general focus of the Western media and the Chinese internet has been the completely legitimate, non-pornographic sites that have been caught in the crossfire. Certainly, many of these blockings appear to have a political bent. But there’s another question that no one has been asking about the pornography crackdown in China: what’s so bad about pornography in the first place?

China followers will have noticed that in the past few years, the number of celebrity sex videos (and amateur sex videos) that make their way around the internet seems to be increasing. Certainly, the past week has seen an explosion of such videos, with “Shoushou-Gate”, “Zhang Yaru-Gate”, and “ICBC Girl-Gate” all exploding onto the scene. All three are amateur sex videos, and all three are making the rounds rapidly even as professional websites are forced to close. Needless to say, some of these videos — such as Zhang Yaru-Gate — appear to be shrewd self-promotion, but others — such as Shoushou-Gate — appear to be cases of revenge that effectively prey on the Chinese internet’s appetite for sexy scandals. And the ICBC girl video is an even more unfortunate case; a regular person whose life may be essentially destroyed because of her boyfriend’s carelessness, a stranger’s callousness, and the Chinese internet’s unending thirst for — let’s call a spade a spade here — pornography.

Photos from "Shoushou-Gate"

Apparently, the ICBC girl’s video found its way to the internet only when her lover lost his cell phone, and its finder — clearly, a scrupulous sort of man — found the video and kindly uploaded it to the internet. Thanks to the Chinese internet’s famed “human flesh search engine”, netizens tracked down the woman’s name almost immediately. Obviously, this will be a stain on her — but thanks to sexism, not his — reputation forever. But could this sort of thing be avoided?

It could, and easily. While celebrity videos are always going to be popular — sorry Shoushou — amateur sex videos rarely, if ever, take the internet by storm in the US the way they do in China. Certainly, there is plenty of amateur sex to be seen online if one so chooses, and that is probably exactly why amateur sex videos don’t spread like wildfire — there existence in and of itself is not interesting or newsworthy. Certainly, people enjoy viewing them, but no one bothers to track down the participants’ names.

And what does China stand to lose, really, from legalizing pornography? The buzzword, as always, is “harmony” — pornography detracts from a harmonious society. But how harmonious is a society that feels the need to track down and identify by name and address every woman whose flesh, through her own mistakes or others’, graces the internet? And how much damage can pornography really do?

Fundamentally, pornography’s supposed sin is that it objectifies women, and increases the likelihood of men who watch it to treat women like objects in real life — that is, to rape or otherwise abuse them. Both claims are difficult to verify — conflicting studies exist, as they do for every controversial issue — so what follows is my own personal assessment, based on the available scientific data, and a fair helping of common sense.

from "Zhang Yaru-Gate"

That some pornography — probably most pornography — objectifies women is undeniable. But so do car advertisements, soda commercials and the amateur sex videos that are dominating Chinese message boards right now. Porn, like soda commercials, doesn’t objectify women by definition, though. There is plenty of pornography that puts women on equal footing with men and, of course, a fair amount of pornography that puts women above men. Still, laboratory studies like that conducted by McKenzie, M. et al in 19901 have indicated that after watching pornography, men are more likely to focused on women’s sexual characteristics, and more likely to exhibit sexual goals in conversations immediately following the viewing of pornography. Common sense, though, reminds us that showing pornography and then being surprised that men are interested in sex afterwards is a bit like being surprised that a hungry person would want to eat a hamburger after watching a McDonald’s commercial.

China, of course, already has issues with sexism, and the government is understandably hesitant to legalize something that might increase sexist attitudes among the general populace. Yet China is not a sexless society, and the objectification of women happens on billboards nationwide, just as it does in the United States. What separates pornography from regular old sexiness is, perhaps, its correlation to real-life violence against women.

Except, of course, that there doesn’t seem to be any such correlation. While various “family” related think tanks have made findings that connect pornography to real-life violence, independent laboratory studies have shown that even violent pornography has no real effect on men’s actual behavior. One 1986 study found that “exposure to the violent or nonviolent pornographic stimuli did not affect […] aggression,” and a 1996 study found that “exposure to violent pornography, even after provocation, produced essentially no antiwoman aggression, fantasies, or attitudes.”2 Some studies have even shown that porn can be good for you, and that many people feel it helps in their marriages or with their self-image.

from "ICBC Girl-Gate"

There are, of course, studies that contradict these findings. But a true causal relationship between pornography and violence is difficult to support even on a large scale. According to the ACLU:

…a causal relationship [between pornography and sexism or violence] has never been established. The National Research Council’s Panel on Understanding and Preventing Violence concluded, in a 1993 survey of laboratory studies, that “demonstrated empirical links between pornography and sex crimes in general are weak or absent.”

Correlational studies are similarly inconclusive, revealing no consistent correlations between the availability of pornography in various communities or countries and sexual offense rates. If anything, studies suggest that a greater availability of pornography seems to correlate with higher indices of sexual equality. Women in Sweden, with its highly permissive attitudes toward sexual expression, are much safer and have more civil rights than women in Singapore, where restrictions on pornography are very tight.

Shoushou with an ex-boyfriend

So, back in China, is there any real reason that pornography is banned? If there is no correlation between legalized pornography and sexism or sex crimes, then there’s little likelihood of pornography seriously effecting China’s “harmonious society”. Furthermore, a legal domestic pornographic industry would provide massive economic benefits. Pornography is a multibillion dollar industry in the US and has the potential to make even more money in China’s massive marketplace, which already boasts more internet users than the US has people. Legal pornography would likely also cut down on the number of amateur sex scandals that rocked the internet, as netizens became used to the one-time novelty of seeing real Chinese people naked. Quite frankly, it could also serve as a form of sex education in a nation that still lags behind much of the Western world. And the Chinese government is certainly capable of regulating what can or cannot be shown in pornographic films to prevent films that do promote negative attitudes towards women from being legally disseminated.

What, one wonders, does the Chinese government gain from banning pornography? Certainly, many Chinese share a belief that pornography is bad, but if there’s science to prove that pornography doesn’t really have a negative affect on society, then wouldn’t it be relatively easy for the government to overcome these stereotypes with a few PSAs and, perhaps, some tactful propaganda banners? And don’t the potential benefits (discussed in the paragraph above) seem to outweigh the risks?

If nothing else, a domestically-regulated porn industry would free many Chinese from the horrors of having to watch pornography imported from — gulp — Japan. But what do you think?

[polldaddy poll=2773513]


  1. See this website for more information and abstracts []
  2. For more information on these studies, see this website. []


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  1. roninstevie

    They should allow porn in China. But I am having second thoughts on allowing a porn industry in China. In the end they will be painted as yellow perverts like it happend to the Japanese in the western media. By the same “political correct” western journalists who watch interracial gangbang movies and without any self reflexion write sensationalistic stories about pervert japanese businessman and underwear vending machines.

    • Yes, interracial sex! Truly the highest form of perversion. *eyeroll*

      But seriously, since when does China care what reporters say anyway. Some Westerners have indeed demonized Japan for embracing kinks to a greater extent than mainstream America, and the same could happen in China for sure. But does China really care about the opinions of America’s Christian right? Because I don’t, and I’m not even Chinese…

      • roninstevie

        Yes interracial sex in porn is a form of perversion. Not because people of different colour should not engage in a sexual relationship (I am married to a Korean Girl and I am from Europe) but because it is playing with racist stereotypes. Naive blonde banged by a bunch of wild animals also called “n*****s” or a submissive asian geisha is blowing a group of american heroes. You can tell a lot about our culture by looking at our porn ;-)

        And yes, you are right. The Chinese should not give a damm about what western Media are saying. For Chinese there are only two roles possible: submissive servant or evil Dr. Fu Man Chu. As the chinese are no longer willing to subordinate themselves, they have to learn how to deal with the way the are pictured in our media.

        • I edited the racial slur out of your comment, FYI. I agree that some (OK, most) interracial pornography is exploitative and racist, but I don’t think that it is by definition exploitative..

          • credzba

            I voted no porn in China, but it is not based on analysis of good or bad, moral or immoral.
            I believe that it seems (to me) wrong to watch other people in a situation that I would consider personal and private.
            Whether it cripples society, or not, porn is certainly not something people would be proud to tell their kids, or mom they watch.
            In my mind, the fact that people desire to hide their interest in porn is enough to say it is not something that should be promoted in a harmonious society.

            In most world decisions, the benefits and drawbacks are considered, and the decision is based on the benefits outweighing the drawbacks.

            Who benefits from porn?
            1) meets some peoples desires (maybe)
            2) the porn industry makes lots of money (definitely)

            Who looses from porn?
            1) people who can only meet their desires through porn
            2) girls who appear in porn strictly to make money (I doubt many do it for the image)
            3) Some relationships (people I know directly so it is not conjecture) have been damaged by one party watching porn.
            3) my own opinion, society looses some innocence, and “deny-ability” regarding acceptance of personal things presented in public.

            My list is just off the top of my head, and I am sure contain my personal bias’ but a real consideration of “porn for Anywhere” or any issue deserves more than an attempt at facts. The culture of the people, the benefits or losses for the people need to be considered.

  2. yangrouchuan

    The Japanese “perversion” is a natural reaction to an overly conformist culture and “as long as it isn’t public” mentality.

    Just look at how perverted the religious fanatics are, Rev. Ted “cock n rock” Haggard.

    And China doesn’t have perversion? “Mao’s flowers” ring a bell? That was a dirty old man.

    I’m gonna see how far I can push this new China blog, as I have popped its cherry in the first official post. Bad, bad China.

    • roninstevie

      “The Japanese “perversion” is a natural reaction to an overly conformist culture”

      :-) I have heard this sentence many times. The funny thing is – I heard it mostly from Germans. Who are always utterly shocked, when I tell them, that Germans are famous for their scat porn in the States.

      ….No… I am not suggesting you are German and I am not saying your argument is completely wrong. I am just trying to point out that things are not that simple and that we are all sitting in a glass house.

  3. 250

    Well I’m sure you wrote this article just so you could do copious amounts of ‘research’, but i”ll justify it anyway (i think that makes me an ‘enabler’).

    Ok let’s face it, there are many things banned in China which are completely ignored by most people. The ban on pornography is one of these. Most young men have seen it and most of them have a favourite AV star (I know, i’ve been asked many times). So if China legalised porn, only the lack of these ‘gate’ videos would change, as you mentioned.

    I think the real problem is young men in China only have porn to define sex to them. There is no education, so romantic sex in (Chinese) TV and movies. I just feel sorry for the girls who have to go ass to mouth on their first time. Legalising porn won’t change this or young men’s idea of what sex is.

    China needs to totally reform it’s openness about sex, but i think the porn industry can wait.

    • Josh

      I disagree. I mean come on, I don’t think I speak alone here when I say that I learned more about sex and the mechanics of how shit works from porn than I did from health class. Of course I wouldn’t find out in a porn video what the vas deferens are, but I agree with Custer when he says that if you legalize porn and make it so it’s not super-duper-ultra-taboo, then maybe all the teachers in school wouldn’t skip over that chapter when it came time to teach what happens when a mommy and daddy love each other very much.

      If nothing else, it can at least teach people that there is another way besides mounting up on top and pounding your way in.

  4. Teacher in C

    That was a really interesting post. I agree with what you said about porn whole-heartedly. I say go for it, let porn into China. It definitely provides a release for sexually frustrated males, and it’s a lot safer than going to those “red light massage” places. From what I understand, China has a huge problem with men finding wives, since there’s a massive gap between the amount of men and women in the country. So, introduce to the masses to the pleasures of Palmela Handerson and give them some good stuff to get off to. Why not? It’ll help relieve the stress and hopefully stop them from engaging in unsafe behaviour.

  5. ceh

    It *should* be legalized, just as pot should be legalized…but politically, it’s not viable. Any party cadre that comes out and says “let’s legalize porn!” has slim chances of appearing on the next one-man ballot.

    While the party generally wants what’s best for “harmony,” and legalizing porn may have that effect, any individual party member or committee that suggests it or supports it will likely be “harmonized” long before it can become a reality.

    Chinese generally have a more reserved attitude towards sex, at least publicly. Few Chinese broach the subject with anyone but their close friends (e.g. no Chinese person I know has had a real “birds and the bees” conversation with their parents). Every country has its limits. In the US, when Jocelyn Elders came out and said masturbation “should be taught,” it crossed the line of what is socially and politically acceptable, regardless of the merits of the underlying statement (and I make no judgment on the merits of that).

    The climate to legalize porn in China simply doesn’t exist.

    • ecodelta

      No need to have an official risking his neck.

      Just let it happen in a hush hush way.

      • ceh

        how does that happen? The commies have perfected the hive mind so that no one even has to propose ideas, it’s collectively introduced? Even if they use a secret ballot, someone has to take the initiative within the government.

        Besides, there are many brownie points to be had by those who will stick their necks out on the OTHER side of the debate, about how porn is immoral, a form of Western invasion into Chinese cultural values, blah blah.

  6. Jay (a different one)

    Legalizing pron takes all the fun out of it. Now, I have to put on my grey trench-coat, forever hover around the virtual-tour-DVD section until that $#@&* drunk Japanese expat finally decides what he wants and buggers of, sneak my pick of the limited offerings in-between some other disks and hope nobody sees, hide it from my wife, and do it all again next week because the pictures on the sleeve didn’t match what was on the disk (of course) and rather disgusted me. Besides, the traffic here is dangerous enough without ample cleavage at every bus stop. No negative effect? Pfwaahh…!

  7. Porn is just not harmonious as ceh mentioned.
    No matter how fast China is heading toward economic development, its ideology is still 100% communist…
    Porn simply does not fit in the happy, beautiful, harmonious (harmonized) and united society Hu Jintao wants to build.
    — Woods

  8. Max

    Yes! Finally somebody says it as it is! :)

  9. Kyle

    To be completely crass, I’d like to see a Chinese porn industry as I really can’t stand whinny Japanese girls.

    What about the porn industry in Hong Kong and Taiwan? Does it exist in these places?

  10. ecodelta

    Pornography, like prostitution, you can ban it but never make it go away.

    And by baning them more arm can be done than good. You puss it that way to the dark side of society, where crimes will be committed with impunity, because they are not supposed to happen. And victims would be defenseless.

    It is not good to repress sexuality, it usually backfires, see what happened with some priests lately. It they did not lived in such a sexual repressive environment, it would not have happened.

    If better to have escape valves for the primeval emotions in our brains.

    You can go against millions of years of evolution at your own risk.

    And from self experience, the moral drive about sexuality in authoritarian regimes have more to do with the tools for social control than with the raising of a healthy sexual behavior.

    • pug_ster

      I disagree. Porn is just as illegal as prostitution and ‘uncensored internet’ yet people can go to those massage places and use proxy servers to go to blocked websites. Porn is the same way. The Chinese government just don’t want porn industry to be in China and stop websites that facilitates in spreading porn. Yet it is rare to see people get arrested in selling pirated porn dvd’s in some back alley so the government is not stopping that.

  11. How can the leaders purport to be virtuous if they legalise it?
    The leaders who legalise it will forever be responsible for whatever results from it.
    If I was a politician I wouldn’t mind it being legalised but I wouldn’t want to put my name on it!

    • Right, but what about porn is so unvirtuous, really? Aside from the fact that everyone has been saying it’s not virtuous, but really, it’s two people having sex. This is the way all humans are created, a way of expressing love and passion. Why is that not virtuous, but it’s OK to have 750,000 TV shows glorifying war and violence?

      • Hi Mr C
        First thing – I’m thoroughly enjoying China/divide, superb blog…
        I wasn’t suggesting that porn is either virtuous or without virtue; rather looking at the leader requiring virtue – Confucius – it’s difficult to be the leader who legalises it.
        The violence on TV is an interesting analogy, it exists because it was done by degree, gradually – no politician had to be seen to specifically vote for it to be acceptable.
        Put another way, what’s the political advantage for the politician who champions making porn legal?

  12. whichone

    Chinese attitudes regarding sex is very much still conservative, and it certainly isn’t caused by lack of porn. It seems to me your cause and effect argument is backwards. China need its equivalent of a sexual revolution that changes its views on women’s liberation and sexuality, this will lead to legalization of pornography, not the other way around.

    • Josh

      Does anyone know what the legal history of porn is in the United States? Considering that the sexual revolution probably occurred in the 20’s. Or maybe the 60’s. Which one came first in the States, just as a reference of comparison?

    • ceh

      I agree. Widespread porn came to the U.S. well after the attitudes on sexuality changed. On the other hand, a limiting factor was the lack of widely available video production until the 70s, when the porn industry really began to flourish, though it certainly was around before then.

    • Teacher in C

      Porn in the US started in magazine form with Playboy, soft-core though it is. As far as video porn, I’m not so sure. Pretty sure it was the 70’s though, since you always hear people talking about the “70’s bush” phenomenon ;)
      There was photographic porn back in the 20’s, and actually ever since people began taking pics. I went to the sex museum in Amsterdam quite a few years ago and was astounded at all the 100+ year old pics of fully naked women. It was weirdly unarousing, but interesting (and funny) nonetheless.

      • During the 70’s, in various communities in the U.S., “Deep Throat” (the movie) was shown to juries to determine whether it was obscene; the outcomes varied widely and the movie was banned in numerous locations. The movie was eventually even found obscene in New York, but by then everybody that wanted to had already seen it. In 1976, there was a series of federal cases in Memphis, Tennessee, where over 60 individuals and companies were indicted for conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines. The trials ended in convictions. This was the first time that an actor (Harry Reems) had been prosecuted by the federal government on obscenity charges. (Lenny Bruce had been prosecuted in the 1960s by local authorities). Only in the 80’s porn became booming business, when people could watch it privately (and legally) on video. In 2007 the movie was broadcasted for the first time on national television in the Netherlands.
        As a Dutchman, I would agree that the availablitlty porn does not really relate to sexism or sex crimes. On the other hand, porn having become as abundant and easy accesible as it is today, porn- addiction has also become equally wide spread. Not to mention this psychological hazard when you suggest to have done some solid research on the dangers of porn, strikes me as a stunning hiatus.

  13. Uln

    “What, one wonders, does the Chinese government gain from banning pornography?”

    I don’t think in this case it is about gaining something. I think the answer is much more simple: The leaders of the CCP are extremely conservative, and as all conservatives everywhere they abhor public displays of sex or dissolute behaviour (even if in private they might go to the brothel 5 times a week and maintain 3 ernais)

    I think the question of why they ban sex is not particularly a Chinese one, but a more general problem in humanity, that we can formulate as follows: why do conservatives everywhere tend to have this particular attitude towards sex, regardless of their religion or absence thereof?

    My own guess: Because “free sex” is perceived as a threat to the very basis of a stable society, the family.

    And back to China, I agree it would better for the kids to watch local porn rather than Japanese. But then, I don’t think this is a critical problem for China right now, IMO there are more urgent matters to address.

    • I agree. I don’t think it’s critical either, just interesting. The reason I think the case in China is interesting specifically is because in the West, we have Christianity and “original sin” to thank for conservatives disliking sex (although that itself may spring from general human interest in preserving the family). But that religious impetus doesn’t exist in China, at least not to the same extent.

      And as I see it, porn (rather than free sex) is actually a way of stabilizing the family unit. How many marriages are ruined by affairs that might have been avoided if one party had been able to use porn as an effective outlet for sexual desires their partner wasn’t willing or able to fulfill? I don’t have any hard data on hard, but there are some studies that many people feel porn has helped preserve their marriages; certainly, I know people in the US who would say that was true.

      • Henry Locke

        @ Custer

        I’m for people doing whatever they want and feel that pornography/drinking/smoking should be legal for all consenting adults but seriously, how the hell does pornography stabilize the family unit? Are you taking into account the possibility that one partner might not agree with the other partner using pornography as an outlet? How about children involved within those marriages(“Hey kids, mommy isn’t pleasing me so I’m going to go look at some pornography tonight! Hope that’s alright with you!”)?

        People have the right to do whatever the hell they want but with all due respect Custer, what the fuck are you smoking? How is porno a great stabilizing effect on the family? Did you just pull this out of your ass?

        • Yes, obviously it requires both partners to agree, but assuming they do, it can good. For example, let’s say I am super into feet, but my wife really isn’t into that at all. I can’t do anything with her; without porn I may be tempted to try to find a real-life encounter where I can fulfill my interest in this fetish. But if there’s porn, it’s easy enough for me to find some foot fetish stuff to get off to when I feel like it.

          Or (and this scenario is probably more common) pornography adds some “spice” to an otherwise vanilla sex life when one or both partners is starting to feel things are getting dull. Watching porn together, acting it out as you watch, using it to get ideas for things you can do; these are all useful activities that can result in both partners being more sexually fulfilled and thus, having a more stable relationship.

          Obviously you don’t tell the kids, Captain Straw Man. This is about the sexual relationship between two adults, it keeps the family unit stable only in the sense that many divorces are caused by affairs, and many affairs are caused by sexual frustration, un-fulfillment, or boredom on the home front which porn can — but is not guaranteed to — fix.

          And I didn’t just pull it out of my ass. If you’d read the post and the relevant things I’d linked to, you would see that, for example, an Australian study of people who watch pornography found many couples reported it had a positive effect on their marriage.

          And while we’re at it, why wouldn’t both partners agree that watching porn is OK? This is the same kind of stupid jealousy that leads to men getting angry when they find out their girlfriends have vibrators: these things are tools designed explicitly to help people enjoy their sexual experiences. Obviously sex is something some people are very self-conscious about, but the sooner those people get over their infantile fears and realize these things are there to help them and their partners, the better. (This is not to say that everyone should be forced to use porn, or vibrators, or whatever. People should do what they want, and not everyone is into porn. But if you aren’t into porn and your boyfriend is, what harm is letting him watch it every now and then really going to do? And, perhaps more important, what harm is telling him he can’t watch it going to do?)

          Don’t let any of that get in the way of cursing at someone you don’t know for no reason, though. After all, this is the internet!

          • Henry Locke

            Wow, a little over-defensive, aren’t you? If you paid attention, you’d notice that none of my mean ol’ nasty curse words were directed at you personally. Granted, I did say “Did you just pull this out of your ass?” But that was more in reference to the OPINION you expressed which I thought was quite idiotic, not towards you as a person.

            You did post a lot of links but then again, those sources were made by a small self-selected group of people who believed that pornography had bettered their relationship. There’s simply no absolute way you could prove without a shadow of a doubt that pornography improved all relationships unless you were to have every married couple on the face of this earth participate in a survey. I think you said it best yourself:

            “which porn can — but is not guaranteed to — fix.”

            There you go. Porn “can” but is never “guaranteed” to fix relationships. There are no absolutes involved. Why not admit this from the beginning instead of making wild matter-of-fact statements such as:

            “porn (rather than free sex) is actually a way of stabilizing the family unit.”

            And one more thing:

            “But if you aren’t into porn and your boyfriend is, what harm is letting him watch it every now and then really going to do? And, perhaps more important, what harm is telling him he can’t watch it going to do?”

            Do you have a girlfriend or wife, C. Custer? Because I seriously hope you haven’t said something like this to her(“Hey honey, I’m going to go watch some porn. What? What’s wrong baby? You don’t want me to? Why not? OW! What was that for ?!”).

          • I never said porn was guaranteed to fix relationships. What I said was “Some studies have even shown that porn can be good for you, and that many people feel it helps in their marriages or with their self-image.” That was in the original article, so I assumed people would have read it and I didn’t need to clarify that I wasn’t pushing porn as some magic cure-all in subsequent comments.

            And yes, I do have a girlfriend. Guess what? She doesn’t care if I watch porn, just as I don’t care if she watches porn, because she’s not an immature child who’s afraid my feelings for her will somehow be stolen or replaced by a two-dimensional masturbation aid. In fact, out of all the girls I’ve dated, the only one who ever had an issue with porn was my high school girlfriend who was, at the time, 16.

            If your girlfriend does get jealous of porn though, well, good luck with that. She sounds great

          • Henry Locke

            “I never said porn was guaranteed to fix relationships. What I said was “Some studies have even shown that porn can be good for you, and that many people feel it helps in their marriages or with their self-image.” That was in the original article, so I assumed people would have read it and I didn’t need to clarify that I wasn’t pushing porn as some magic cure-all in subsequent comments.”

            “Some” studies does not mean that they are studies which are all-encompassing or exhaustive, just as some studies might show drinking soda drinks is good for you but later on when more information is discovered down the road, say that drinking soda is bad for you. Sometimes health and scientific studies say one thing but later down the road, change their minds and say something else. I think it’s foolish just to say porn can be healthy for the family unit based on SOME studies you’ve found. I bet if I made the effort(which I’m too lazy to right now) I could find equally as many studies from nutty Evangelical Christian sites or even secular, scientific sources which say pornography during marriage is bad for you.

            <>

            That’s great. Whatever floats your boat, man. I’m not going to butt in on whatever you and your girlfriend both decide to do together.

            And as for my girlfriend, now that you mention her, she does admittedly get angry if I do something like watch porn. She’s not some prude and she’s a pretty open-minded and non-judgmental person. But in a relationship, she has certain standards for me and herself. Having standards is not a bad thing, no?

          • ““Some” studies does not mean that they are studies which are all-encompassing or exhaustive”

            Right. Which is why I wrote “some studies” and not “all-encompassing, exhaustive studies”. And yes, you can find lots of studies from crazy Christians linking porn to murder — that’s why I also noted several times that there were counter studies. But the studies I’ve cited, unlike the crazy ones, were published in fairly real journals, rather than “The Journal of Science for Preserving the Family” or whatever.

            And yeah, standards are good. Personally I’m a fan of standards that have some kind of logic behind them, but if you’re both happy then there is no reason at all you should care what I think anyway.

          • Henry Locke

            I chewed the cud over this discussion for a while and I finally figured out why I didn’t like your presentation of this topic, Custer.

            For one thing, you pride yourself as being a “moderate” and a “middlenut.” Cool. Problem is, your opinions on this are anything but “middle of the road.”

            First and foremost, I see pornography as being a private matter, something which people should decide for themselves. Whatever people look at in the privacy of their own homes is none of my business. Whether or not pornography is legal or illegal is none of my business either. In your article, however, you make such bold statements such as:

            “And what does China stand to lose, really, from legalizing pornography? The buzzword, as always, is “harmony” — pornography detracts from a harmonious society. But how harmonious is a society that feels the need to track down and identify by name and address every woman whose flesh, through her own mistakes or others’, graces the internet? And how much damage can pornography really do?”

            “What, one wonders, does the Chinese government gain from banning pornography? Certainly, many Chinese share a belief that pornography is bad, but if there’s science to prove that pornography doesn’t really have a negative affect on society, then wouldn’t it be relatively easy for the government to overcome these stereotypes with a few PSAs and, perhaps, some tactful propaganda banners? And don’t the potential benefits (discussed in the paragraph above) seem to outweigh the risks?”

            Your portrayal of the topic is decidedly one-sided in its advocacy of the legalization of pornography. While you do cite some sources and make a fairly compelling argument for legalization, you absolutely fall short of the “middlenut” standard which you set for yourself and this blog. This article which you wrote isn’t bad in itself… in fact, if it was on some guy’s personal blog, I probably wouldn’t think twice about it. But the fact that you wrote this on a blog which seeks a form of “moderate” legitimacy destroys all of your credibility.

            A true moderate would probably say something like, “Well, I may not agree with/care for pornography on a personal level but I still think people should have the right to look at whatever they want in their own homes.” You, on the other hand, have not. “Why Porn should be Legal in China” as the header of this topic says everything about you and where you stand.

            A true moderate would show all sides of the story which tell more than one opinion. He would search for sources he agrees with, as well as sources which he may not agree with. In his search, he would show how pornography could have a positive effect on society but at the same time, he would also present case studies which measure the negative effects of pornography. He would not have presented only the “positive” effects of pornography while writing off other views as “crazy Christian studies.” He would have acknowledged all sides as having some degree of validity.

            A true moderate, Mr. Custer, would not have put such shoddy, lazy research into a complex, and multi-faceted, topic which requires not only one viewpoint, but many viewpoints.

            A TRUE moderate, C. Custer, would have done everything in his power to show the nuances and complexities of this topic in all its forms, rather than embrace legalization in a decidedly one-sided manner, which you, in your infinite wisdom, have done.

          • The idea is that overall, the site presents a moderate way of approaching China. But make no mistake, on specific issues you’re going to get some opinions. Moderate means giving both sides a chance and often looking to compromise, not falling exactly in the middle of every debate on every issue.

            I figured the title of the post made it pretty clear I had an agenda from the get-go, though….

        • Also, as a sidenote, saying “with all due respect” or “no offense” does not give you a blanket go-ahead to then say something blatantly disrespectful or offensive.

        • Henry Locke

          “The idea is that overall, the site presents a moderate way of approaching China. But make no mistake, on specific issues you’re going to get some opinions. Moderate means giving both sides a chance and often looking to compromise, not falling exactly in the middle of every debate on every issue.”

          Nobody’s saying you don’t have the right to an opinion but it just seems to me that you’re not taking your own advice of “giving both sides a chance” or “looking to compromise.” This is in light of the fact that your blog is meant to have a moderate view. You could’ve acknowledged some opposing studies but instead you wrote them off as “crazy christian studies.” In all honesty, the effects of pornography on society is a complex topic and one that hasn’t fully been measured. I do see pornography as a largely private matter and believe it’s not my business to tell people what they can or can’t look at in their own private time. But to try to insinuate that pornography can be a great stabilizing effect on the family is pure idiocy at best. It really does sound like something you pulled out of your ass to give legitimacy to your own pornographic viewing. Custer, if you look at porn, great. It’s your right but it’s not something you need to broadcast to the world in the form of an attempted opinion editorial about the great family stabilizing effects of pornography. “Keep it to yourself” is all I’m saying.

          You, Custer, may have the good fortune of having a girlfriend who doesn’t care what you do on your free time(cheating on her aside, that is) but you have to understand that not all men and women are like that. A lot of them do get jealous over stuff like pornography and relationships can get ruined over stuff like this. That being said, I do believe there are economists and social scientists who can come up with legitimate and well backed-up studies on why pornography or marijuana should be legalized. But judging from your other site China Geeks and Sun Zoo, your profession is that of an English teacher and a part-time rap artist… really not someone qualified enough to be making pronounced scientific statements on whether or not pornography is good or bad for people.

          In fact, this whole essay sounds like some online manifesto written by a bored teenager in high school on why drugs or porn should be legal. As I said before, there are qualified people out there who can give a good, well-researched opinion on why pornography should be legal… but a hip-hop-grooving Eminem wannabee like yourself is hardly one of them.

          • Wow, arrogant much? You know nothing about me except my profession (which, of course, you got wrong) and one hobby I happen to have (which you are obviously biased against and also know little about), yet you presume to comment on my qualifications to write this article. May I ask, oh anonymous commenter, what qualifies you to judge it?

            I agree, there are probably legitimate scientists who might find reasons pornography is harmful, but I didn’t find any in my research for this article. Granted, I didn’t spend weeks researching or anything — we post once a day on this blog, if you want exhaustively researched material, go to a bookstore — but the vast majority of anti-porn studies I found were undertaken by research groups with biases so obvious they’re evident in the names (‘Center for the Preservation of Family Values’ or whatever). Presumably, you’ve been alive more than two or three seconds and have learned that you can find just about anything if you’re looking for it. There’s no avoiding bias completely, of course, but I feel writing off sources that broadcast their biases for all to see is fair. I would have written off any studies that were undertaken by groups connected to the porn industry, too — I just didn’t find any of those.

            You clearly don’t like porn, which is fine, but there’s nothing wrong with my defending it on this or any other webspace I write for. I feel that given the time constraints, I did a pretty fair job of looking for legitimate studies that weren’t obvious biased one way or the other, and came to my conclusion based on the results of those studies in combination with my understanding of the Chinese internet.

            Please refrain from trying to bring my background or personal life into your comments again. You might read some blogs I read, but you do NOT know me. You do not know what I am or am not qualified to do, you do not know why I write about the things I write about. I don’t presume to say that you’re unqualified to comment on this article, after all, because I know nothing whatsoever about you. Except, of course, now I know that you’re a judgmental prick willing to jump to conclusions about someone’s “qualifications” with no actual information.

          • Henry Locke

            “Wow, arrogant much? You know nothing about me except my profession (which, of course, you got wrong)”

            [Adjective] much? Lol it sounds like you’ve picked up on some slang from ultra-nationalist fenqing. Of course, you’ve mentioned before that you’ve taught English before in China so don’t be surprised when people assume you teach English as a profession.

            “and one hobby I happen to have (which you are obviously biased against and also know little about)”

            Which hobby? Are we talking about porn or hip-hop? =D

            “yet you presume to comment on my qualifications to write this article. May I ask, oh anonymous commenter, what qualifies you to judge it?”

            I’m qualified to judge this article because you posted this article on public grounds for all kinds of viewers to come and see it. It would be different if you were having a private chat with your friends on why porn should be legal but obviously this isn’t the case here. If you put yourself and your ideas out there to sell on the marketplace, you’re going to get your critics just like with everyone else who puts themselves out there in the public domain. I’m qualified to judge this article alright because you decided to write this article out there for all viewers to see. Think of me as a film critic who decided your end product(this article) was such crap he had to give a harsh, unrelenting review of it.

            “I agree, there are probably legitimate scientists who might find reasons pornography is harmful, but I didn’t find any in my research for this article. Granted, I didn’t spend weeks researching or anything — we post once a day on this blog, if you want exhaustively researched material, go to a bookstore — but the vast majority of anti-porn studies I found were undertaken by research groups with biases so obvious they’re evident in the names (‘Center for the Preservation of Family Values’ or whatever). Presumably, you’ve been alive more than two or three seconds and have learned that you can find just about anything if you’re looking for it. There’s no avoiding bias completely, of course, but I feel writing off sources that broadcast their biases for all to see is fair. I would have written off any studies that were undertaken by groups connected to the porn industry, too — I just didn’t find any of those.”

            Yup, in a nutshell. You post once a day on this blog and I’m betting for this article you spent maybe two hours at most finding sources to support it. Even high school and middle school students are expected to spend longer, more productive time researching in order to write their essays.

            “You clearly don’t like porn, which is fine, but there’s nothing wrong with my defending it on this or any other webspace I write for. I feel that given the time constraints, I did a pretty fair job of looking for legitimate studies that weren’t obvious biased one way or the other, and came to my conclusion based on the results of those studies in combination with my understanding of the Chinese internet.”

            I never said I liked or disliked porn. I said it was a private matter. Like every other full-blooded male out there, I like women and sex(obviously) but that doesn’t mean I want to hear other guys or girls talk about their own sex lives or sexual habits. “Keep it to yourself” is what I’ve been trying to say. This is why I feel your article on porn failed on every level. This essay really did come off as an adolescent online manifesto written by a bored teenager who thinks pornography and prostitution should be legal. The thin line between your private life and public advocacy for legalizing pornography were blurred almost seemlessly here.

            “Please refrain from trying to bring my background or personal life into your comments again. You might read some blogs I read, but you do NOT know me. You do not know what I am or am not qualified to do, you do not know why I write about the things I write about. I don’t presume to say that you’re unqualified to comment on this article, after all, because I know nothing whatsoever about you. Except, of course, now I know that you’re a judgmental prick willing to jump to conclusions about someone’s “qualifications” with no actual information.”

            I’m C. Custer, yes I’m the real Custer
            All you other C. Custers are just imitating
            So won’t the real C. Custer please stand up,
            please stand up, please stand up?

          • Terry

            Mr. Locke,

            I do believe that you have overstepped the boundaries of propriety as a guest commentator on this blog in your criticism of young Mr. Custer who as someone born in the year of the Ram in the 1950’s is probably young enough to be one of my offspring. You most certainly have way too much time on your hands which could be so much more fruitfully employed in activities that would be of some benefit to society. To use a slang expression, it seems that you most certainly have a “bug up your ass”. I found the article well written, well researched and yes provocative. As a traditional Libertarian, I must admit that I cringe when I see moralistic platitudes about what is best for the abstraction called “society” and quite honestly I think that bans on pornography like bans on illicit drugs actually serve to promote more of what is being banned because of the “sin” excitement that it engenders amongst those who wanted to sample something forbidden. That plus energy spent towards eradicating any “wrong” in society tends to actually perpetuate that wrong as so much attention is devoted to such “wrongs”.

            It is certainly an article that provokes some examination of assumptions and in that I believe the article fulfills the promise of this blog, to stimulate thinking and to present other ways of looking at things. That you have reacted with personal invective on reading it, proves just how effective the article was in stimulating a response. Be well Mr. Locke, and please do chill out, life is too short for this sort of drivel.

          • Henry Locke

            “I do believe that you have overstepped the boundaries of propriety as a guest commentator on this blog in your criticism of young Mr. Custer who as someone born in the year of the Ram in the 1950’s is probably young enough to be one of my offspring.”

            What boundaries? As a guest commentator, I have the right to review articles on this site as I see fit. Just like a movie critic has the right to give a scathing review of a movie he doesn’t like. Also… are you Custer’s dad? Or uncle? You implied Custer is young enough to be your son so now I gotta wonder.

            “You most certainly have way too much time on your hands which could be so much more fruitfully employed in activities that would be of some benefit to society. To use a slang expression, it seems that you most certainly have a “bug up your ass”.”

            If you’re implying I have a lot of time on my hands, then you would be correct. However, it doesn’t take all that much time for me to type up a comment on this blog. Maybe 5 or 10 minutes at the most. Other than that I can assure you I have a lot of other fruitful things to do.

            “I found the article well written, well researched and yes provocative. As a traditional Libertarian, I must admit that I cringe when I see moralistic platitudes about what is best for the abstraction called “society” and quite honestly I think that bans on pornography like bans on illicit drugs actually serve to promote more of what is being banned because of the “sin” excitement that it engenders amongst those who wanted to sample something forbidden. That plus energy spent towards eradicating any “wrong” in society tends to actually perpetuate that wrong as so much attention is devoted to such “wrongs”.”

            That’s cool, I happen to share a lot of libertarian and socially liberal views as well. Which is why I’ve been saying all along that pornography is a private matter which shouldn’t have any judgment calls made on it being either good or bad for people. Unlike you however, I don’t think Custer wrote a well-written and well-researched article. While I do share some libertarian and liberal views on society, it doesn’t mean I’m going to take everyone who expresses liberal/libertarian views seriously. There are the Austrian economists, philosophers, social scientists, writers, and professional libertarian bloggers who spend more than two hours researching a topic and know what they’re talking about out there who can come up with good, legitimate arguments on why pornography or drugs should be legal. The arrogant adolescent douchebags in high school who pick up an Ayn Rand book and then write an online manifesto about why pot should be legal are not the types I take seriously. C. Custer’s article on why pornography should be legal also counts as one of those unprofessional pieces of drivel I don’t take seriously.

            Terry, it appears that both you and I do share many common views on these topics so it begs the question of why you’re disagreeing with me and attacking me.

            “It is certainly an article that provokes some examination of assumptions and in that I believe the article fulfills the promise of this blog, to stimulate thinking and to present other ways of looking at things. That you have reacted with personal invective on reading it, proves just how effective the article was in stimulating a response. Be well Mr. Locke, and please do chill out, life is too short for this sort of drivel.”

            I agree Custer’s article was provocative. But being provocative does not mean it’s well-written, well-researched, or high-quality by any means. As I said before, there are bloggers, writers, and economists out there who can come up with a good argument on why pornography should be legal. And they can probably do it too without coming up with lame arguments such as “pornography can be a great stabilizing effect on the family!” C. Custer is not one of those people and this article IS bar none the worst article he’s ever written.

          • Terry

            Henry,

            I concede… I just thought I would step in to defend C. Custer and got carried away with my own verbal excesses on a slow night ;) No we are not related, and I do not believe I have met him before, but then after being here in Beijing so long and having a few faulty grey cells with the onset of age, I might have!@!

      • Josh

        “I don’t have any hard data on hard,”

        Freudian slip?

        • Hah, I meant to say “hard data on that.”

          But I do have some hard data…if you know what I’m talking about.

          I’m talking about my penis.

          • Teacher in C

            A “Freudian Slip” – is that when you say one thing but you mean your mother?

          • Do you consider WIRED a fairly real journal?

            “Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee…”

            http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/11/65772#Replay

          • No, Wired is not a scientific journal. It’s a tech news magazine. That article is just quoting what some people said in a Congress hearing about porn, but many of the people it quotes seem to be from questionable organizations — National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality? I think most scientists are well past the idea that homosexuality is something that requires (or can be effected by) therapy.

            Layden, who is quoted in that article and who seems to come from a more reputable scientific background, seems to be talking about the addicting aspects of internet porn, which certainly do exist. I think that genuine porn addiction cases are fairly rare, but that’s probably the strongest argument against legalizing pornography (in my book).

            That said, places with legalized pornography don’t seem to have huge problems with porn addiction.

      • Uln

        @Custer- yes, surely porn and free sex are not the same thing. But in the mind of some people both are seen as a very similar evil, and I don’t think many conservatives would accept your argument that porn is stabilizing…

        Anyway, following your comment I see a more interesting angle to this argument, which is: why is the CCP from very early times so puritan in terms of sex? Or more in general, why do all communist countries share similar attitudes, considering all of them abolished religion?

        My guess: again, because this attitude towards sex has little to do with religion. The bible itself is full of sexual passages in its early times. IMO, this has more to do with the logic of revolutionary movements obtaining mainstream power: suddenly their focus shifts from “changing the world” to “maintain the status quo”, which is the landmark of conservatives.

        Although on second thought I might be wrong in this conclusion. From the records I have read of the communists in Shaanxi in the 30s they were already puritan and moralizing long before 1949. I need to think this over a bit more, any ideas?

        Why are commies so prudish?

        • Total speculation: perhaps it’s a discipline thing. Sex seems to become the thing that groups pick a lot when they want to enforce/teach discipline for its own sake. And certainly, in the early days, the CCP needed to be pretty hardcore about discipline to keep from being murdered by the Nationalists. Just a thought though, it’s not based in any kind of evidence…

        • Uln, strongly agree that conservative attitudes towards sex has little to do with religion, insofar that religion is always the reason for it. However, not too sure I agree with Custer’s speculation that it might have something to do with discipline. Instead, I think it’s something baser than that, and that being “control”.

          Discipline, to me, is too much about how one relates to oneself. Control, on the other hand, is more about how we relate to others. I’m not versed enough in this area to feel too comfortable speculating further but maybe someone who might agree with this notion can take it further for discussion.

        • roninstevie

          “Why are commies so prudish?”

          In Communist China prostitution, porn, homosexuality and “free love” was considered bourgeois and exploiting. (I remember an article about some Germans from a “commune” who went to Red China in the 70s, and were disappointed that there was no big Love and Drugs Party going on – Yes, they were that stupid)

          In nowadays China it has more to do with the renaissance of Confucianism. How did you put it?

          “My own guess: Because “free sex” is perceived as a threat to the very basis of a stable society, the family.” (btw. nice comment, I think you really hit the nail on his head there)

          And Confucianism is all about the family.

        • Teacher in C

          I recently saw a movie called “Three Stage Sisters” which was filmed in 1965 but immediately banned and didn’t screen until the mid 80’s. The reason it was banned (I asked the guy who lectured after the movie played) was there too much of a focus on relationships, and especially inappropriate relationships between 2 women. One of the main characters has no father, no husband, no son – very unusual in those days. At the end of the movie her “sister”, who used to perform opera on stage with her, leaves her husband, and they sail down a river together, ready to support the revolution, etc.

          As the conversation after the movie continued, people started to talk about how in those days the portrayal of any sort of relationship was looked down on, and any movie which portrayed people who were a little too beautiful (like the women in Two Stage Sisters) or a little too in love with each other were pretty much banned. This is a stretch maybe, but in most places nowadays people have TV shows, movies and other entertainment to “teach” them how to love, and how to enter into relationships. So I mean if you have a whole generation of people growing up without any sort of idea about how to do these things, wouldn’t that make them pretty “prudish” when it came to sex?

  14. Lots of great comments here. Looks like I better do more, heh, “research”.

  15. Joseph

    I feel that not only should a website that tries to bridge the cultural divide between China and the West talk about these videos, but it should also post the links to where we could actually download these videos to get our own perspective.

  16. Joe

    I think you should add links to download these supposed videos.

    But anyway many people look at porn in China. I had a female friend fresh from China to go to graduate school in the states that had interracial porn on her laptop. She downloaded it while she was in China. Of course there are people in China that are appalled at porno just like in the West.

  17. Alex Taggart

    What makes the issue a lot more confusing is the pretty tolerant attitude to ‘erotic art’. Chinese magazines like MOON
    and GALA
    (the latter patronised by prominent Chinese sexologist Li Yinhe on her blog ) frequently feature people’s naughty bits. Unless I’m mistaken, these have not been harmonised.

    Also, Guangzhou has been hosting a huge sex festival every year since 2002. 2009’s featured a meet-and-greet with Japanese AV stars, one of whom talked to journalists about how normal porn is. This suggests that if there’s some RMB to be made, porn is OK. So it can’t be a money issue.

    I figure the CCP reckon that reform would simply bring too much hassle, especially when current policy seems to sit well with the conservative majority. It’s the same reason why sex ed hasn’t seem reform: irrational fear of what the younger generation will do with it.

    • The CCP seems to be okay with porn within the context of limited private consumption between consenting husband and wife. Their hard stance is seems to be framed mostly on consumption by children and young unmarried men.

    • xiaomoogle

      And they seem ok with the many many 成人保健商店/sex shops I see on my way home, that sell lots of kinky shit and porn.

      They aren’t doing much with trafficking, which is actually a problem.

  18. Ethan

    I really wonder how many of the posters are Chinese. Culturally, China is just not as openly sexual as the western world. Displays or insinuations of sexuality has always been frowned upon.

    Whereas western culture’s comfort with sexuality goes way back to the Greeks, Romans, medieval chivalry, the renaissance, then covered up by the Victorian age, and then slowly liberalized again until the 60’s. China’s never seen naked bodies as art, it was always a vulgar thing in their eyes, something that should only be enjoyed in private. In regards to sexuality, China’s been in the Victorian age for pretty much all of its written history. If you can see it from that point of view, then porn definitely does not fit in with the conservative old guard’s idea of what or how China should be.

    Having said that, I’m still a guy and think it’s the ones that don’t like porn that you need to watch out for.

    • Alex Taggart

      China actually has a long history of sexual culture. The Sunü-jing (素女经), one of many sex-handbooks published during the Han Dynasty, had the approval of Confucian leaders, who were a pretty conservative bunch. It’s worth reading if you’re interested, a dude called Gulik published a translation. It’s pretty hilarious, stuff about how “it is best to have sex with ten women in a night, without ejaculating.” Then there’s the ancient Fangzhong-shu 房中书, which has all sorts of sexually-explicit material.

      Also, the naked human body has been used in Chinese sculpture since ancient times, too. Check out the link to the GZ sex festival that I posted above, there were exhibitions of ancient pornographic sculptures made out of jade, and humungous wooden schlongs.

      Sex has been discussed in public in China for thousands of years, which is what makes this whole pornophobia all the more confusing!

      • Teacher in C

        Dude, go to the Chinese sex museum in Tongli. Fascinating stuff there, I spent about two hours wandering around in there looking at all the old relics. Even more fascinating was the fact that it’s way down at the end of a side street – it’s fun watching people try to get up the nerve to go into it, and getting about halfway there and then changing their minds, giggling all the while.

  19. Zuo Ai

    Porn should also be free. I mean, you don’t get much more mass appeal than subsidizing what every man in the country wants to consume.

  20. Terry

    Part of the Chinese conservatism in regard to porn is also related to certain traditional Chinese medical views on wasting “jing” sperm/ejaculate in males. The purpose of Daoist sexual practices of capturing female essence but not of wasting male essence through ejaculation are routed in this concept, as are all the medicines out there to “bu yang” (enhance maleness) Sort of like the warnings in the old days in the west that too much masturbation will make you go blind. I think the fear is that young men will spend way too much time playing with their ding a lings, and not on their studies and serving the glorious state. Products of the Chinese sports machines are not allowed to have sex so are obviously not candidates for using up the thousands of free condoms that are made available in Olympic Villages. So there is this societal view that sex (or is it too much, how much?) is bad for health that I think is also behind some of the puritanism about porn. That plus it detracts from peoples dedication to build up the glorious motherland/state/party is a major force behind the “conservatism” (whatever conservatism actually means as used above).

  21. George

    China wants to decrease its dependance on exports and boost domestic consumption?

    Ok pals, the best way to achieve that is by lifting the ban on any way of pornography and allowing gambling too.

    By doing this, the tertiary sector of the economy will help to achieve a double digit economic growth for many years to come. It is also a much more healthy way of economic growth because you are not producing stuff but offering services, something that will not pollute the environment.

    I hope some members of the “two meetings” here in beijing read this.

  22. Jesus Christ

    This article and all your posts are quite obsolete. Back in 2007 I went to a Carrefour in Chengdu and the porn was right between the toys and the Hollywood blockbusters…
    So what if it was government sanctioned porn with vanilla/romantic scenes? Besides, there are dozens of “garage” sex shops in every street.

    • Sojourner

      Neither Custer’s article nor any of the subsequent posters mention what is surely the elephant in the room here — the REAL reason why the PRC government will NEVER legalise porn.

      If they did, how would they continue to justify the Great Firewall of China and suffocating state censorship?

      So long as politically sensitive topics can be included alongside the “corrupting, venal and disharmonious” effects of pornography, tarring the former with the associations of the latter, the Great Firewall, rhetorically speaking, is so much easier to justify.

Continuing the Discussion