Every week, our observant team of Weibo’ers spot the latest and hottest trends spreading around China’s most vocal social network: Sina Weibo. This week, an annual event for the wealthy becomes a PR scandal…
Sex party scandal
@枝KDS嘿咻软糖：[quote from Sina news] on the 5th April, some netizen exposed that the 2013 Hainan Sanya Rendez-Vous turned into a massive sex party. Sanya officials have already start to investigate the case.
In the media, there is mixed sense of condemnation, disapproval and jealousy; but for the general public, people have been talking about it with a more playful tone:
@上善若水厚德载物也： “#Hainan Sanya Rendez-Vous: When you are warmed and have a full stomach, you will be start thinking about sex.（#海天盛筵八卦# 饱暖思淫欲…）”
@ Rongyan-Chan: ”after going through all the news about the party, I feel sorry for all the girls giving their soul to money and all the guys given their body to alcohol and desire. Capitalism is the biggest optical to the rise of the our nation, so I have only one sentence to say to activity like this, that completely disregards morality: ‘I want to be there!’ ”
Celebrities and Good PR
Originally high-profile in supporting the event, a few celebrities later came out to make it clear that they didn’t get involved with the sex scandal.
#许雅钧 Mike Hsu, the husband of famous Taiwanese TV host Dee Hsu, publicly announced that he was there, but also claimed that “Hainan Rendez-Vous is a great event, please don’t let the gossips and some people’s behavior covered up the whole thing. Sanya is a great place, I hope more people can come back to the event next year.”
There is no follow up on the facts around whether the alleged sex party actually took place, but with even the potential of celebrity involvement, the topic has shot to the top of the chart on weibo.
After days of explosive media coverage, “Hainan Sanya Rendez-Vous” became a household name; other names such as SCC (sport Car Club, 超跑俱乐部 ) and HAC(Hyper Auto Club) also became more prevalent in the public eye – apparently, the required entry for the SCC is to own least own one Porsche Carrera 911, whereas HAC’s bar is a Carrera GT. During the festival period, club members can walk into any parties in Sanya without an invite.
Brands obviously didn’t miss this perfect PR opportunity and also quickly jumped on the bandwagon of the popular hash tag…
Durex were quick to act: #Sanya Hainan Rendez-Vous, even if you want to make mistake, you better be 2100 times more careful. (referring to the news claimed that the organizers given away more than 2100 condoms in the party)
It attracted thousands of comments and more than 5000 reposts; a digital agency even claimed that it’s exposure rate reached 2 millions within just 2 hours.
@智尊孔明Liu: “#Hainan Sanya Rendez-Vous scandal is a massive PR.”
It seems not only business is making the most of the scandal, quite a few individuals have been physically working hard to make money during the event. There are actually new phrases made famous because of the event:
#green tea bxxxh (绿茶婊)
From weibo: “pretty girls who looks innocent. They normally have long, radiance hair; wear make-up; they display an attitude suggesting they will never bring any harm to anyone; and their catch-line is ‘I really don’t know how to do this, can you help me?’. In fact, they make a good living by using their body.”
孙静雅(Linda), Car show model, is one that shot to fame after the sex party scandal. It was claimed by her close friends that she was making ¥600,000 over the course of three days. There are screem capture of her weixin messages saying that “Sanya’s event brought a lot of people here and I made some money out of it.”
#the fringe girls(外围)
From Baidu: Fringe girls were “formally called ‘business models’. They all have some kind of real job or at least have been working once as an actress/model on some famous TV show, so you can somehow ‘baidu’ them.
Many of them have done plastic surgery to enhance their looks. They normally get introduced to businessmen by other “sisters” in the circle; they have their stable clients and will act as pimp for each other too”
Because they are normally living in Chaoyang District in Beijing, they often are given another more obvious name, “#Chaoyang Bxxxh“.
Beside all the moral condemnation, salacious rumour, gossip and furore that accompanies a scandal and social media, plus the inevitable naming and shaming and/or jealousy displayed towards the rich and the famous on weibo – there are issues that came to the fore as a result of this event which are more complex.
It’s evil to be rich
The widening gap between the rich and the poor makes enjoying a luxurious life style almost a sin. A comment under the heated discussion said: “Some people spend millions on a car. Imaging how many labour worker salaries that could pay for?”
Living lavishly, celebrating being rich and having a hedonistic lifestyle is not something that Chinese morality honors – from Laozi’s teaching to Mao’s little red book, the luxurious life style is condemned as one of the biggest causes that will turn a person, or even a country from successful to broke.
The event touches some of the founding principles of the PRC, so no wonder the media are keen to lash out and spit on it without mercy.
Sex is still the moral low ground
Since Edison Chen’s sex scandal in 2008, the public has been much more open and playful when talking about sex. Chen has actually bounced back to (even more) fame, runs a fashion chain and has capitalised on his rebellious image through innumerable sponsorship and PR deals.
However, having sex purely for enjoyment is still sometimes considered as “wrong”, especially when it comes to the connection between wealth and sex.
So once again we see how an online scandal about sex, materialism and wealth creates a large-scale public debate about China’s current morality stakes.
Whilst the topic is highly visible and discursive, it remains challenging to genuinely distinguish the sensationalism of public debate with true private feelings of those who aren’t positioned at the poles.
Regardless, we’ll be making a mental note on the news from next year’s Sanya Rendez-Vous.
Compiled by Lu Heng