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Date Posted: 12:30 25/02/2005

Displaced jouissance at China Youth Daily

China Youth Daily disapproves of a new online sex device

AFTER AMAZING many of its readers with a series of controversial reports about the environment, the chief editor of the state-owned China Youth Daily was unceremoniously fired and the paper quickly resorted to its usual moralizing. To that end, it has today turned its weighty and didactic gaze upon an online remote control sex device which was first brought to public attention by a series of national newspapers and news websites earlier in the week.

The newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Communist Youth League, wonders what sort of effect the new invention - which allows netizens to conduct simulated sex, complete with latex organs that can be plugged into a standard USB port and controlled by similarly-equipped partners across the globe - will have on the morality of the nation.

The backlash had to happen eventually. On Wednesday, the relatively liberal Guangdong-based Yangcheng Wanbao had already expressed some astonishment that the public security bureaus had not yet put a stop to the manufacture of the device, despite the publicity it had received during a Sexual Culture Fair held in Guangzhou at the end of last year. The report also said that the new invention had this week been designated as an AIDS prevention product by the National Sexual Studies Institute, lavishing it in even more attention.

The device would, in theory, reduce the number of one-night stands now generated in the thousands of chatrooms across Chinese cyberspace. It was also being marketed as a device for those unfortunate couples whose separate careers mean they have to live apart, like, ahem, Mr. and Mrs. Dog.

Running Dog, it must be said, looked upon all this with some approval. After all, the authorities seemed to be showing a rare sense of progressive pragmatism. However, it didn't take long for the moralists to emerge, their jouissance duly channelled into loathing and disgust. The China Youth Daily editorial complains that scientific development is one-sided, and does not consider the welfare of the majority, and the award granted this week to the product is an 'irrational assessment' and a 'betrayal of thousands of years of traditional Chinese morality'.

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