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China's Slow-Burning Sexual Revolution

Fueled by income inequality, gender imbalances and repressive laws, China is experiencing a barely-hidden sexual crisis. The government criminalizes Internet porn and sex toys, but offers no better solution for the urban lonely and millions of men unable

What would Mao say?
What would Mao say?
Bai Mo

BEIJING - On a social network website, a beautiful model, pictured draped over a car, posted a message: "Would anybody out there be so kind to invite me for a late dinner? I'd like it to be delivered to my room." She left the name of the hotel and the floor she was staying on, the seventh. An hour later, the same website was blue with curses. Quite a few men had made a trip to the hotel, just to find out that it was a building with only five floors.

Plots like this, woven with desire, seduction and disappointment are repeated everyday on this website. Some 120,000 people are regular viewers of the site. The majority are males between the ages of 20 and 40 who live in Beijing.

New messages are posted constantly with ever changing patterns in order to catch the attention of women. Lies, drama, naked desire are in the language. In essence, they are plainly asking for what in the West is called a "one-night stand". Unlike the sex trade hidden in dark corners of the city, in the virtual world and with a virtual identity, a nation's burning, unhindered desire is exposed.

Weekends and business-led festivals magnify the infinite loneliness of urban men and women. Yet the virtual world's social rules are as cruel as that of the real world. It is said that only the "tall, the handsome, the rich" will attract the opposite sex.

While the West was experiencing a "sexual revolution" in the 1960s, China was going through the Cultural Revolution, a violent, repressive attempt to eradicate "capitalist elements' from Chinese society. During the Cultural Revolution, sexual instincts were transmuted into idolatry, but they have now been awoken by the stimulation of materialism. After years of being closed up, the Chinese suddenly realized that there are a lot of wonderful things they have yet to enjoy. Rather than loving the leader, one might as well just love oneself.

Like a child who has been suppressed for too long, in today's China, sexual energy spews out and manifests in "symptoms of hysteria," as Thomas W. Laqueur, the American sexologist and author of "Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation" would describe it.

Chinese sexologist Li Yinhe puts it this way: "The desire for sex is like the craving for food, the more it's suppressed the stronger it gets."

China's relatively rapid economic rise has resulted in a polarization of wealth among its people. Within the last two decades, the concentration of social resources has deepened. Only a small number of people possess power, money and prestige.

The sex ratio difference does not help either. Currently in China, the birth ratio between boys and girls is 120:100. In fifteen years time, the male/female imbalance will leave tens of millions of men without any prospect of finding a wife.

"The marriage market is a female market," says Li Yinhe. "Sexual equality is particularly related to the social status, the economic and social resources one possesses… It's certainly a big temptation if a woman can change her living conditions and social status through sex, or marriage".

No wonder, some say. Although the American television series "Sex and the City" was popular in both America and China, the American female audience was most interested in the craving for sex, while the Chinese women were more attracted to the lifestyle of well-off women.

A Chinese matchmaker network hongniang.com confirmed the situation. In a survey posted on Nov. 11, the non-official Chinese "Singles' Day," shows that 43% of young people regard the economic situation and family background as their primary concern when assessing a potential lover, instead of the person's qualities. Modern Chinese marriages are suffering and the divorce rate has skyrocketed in the cities.

"When a society's value system is distorted and people worship only money, it is scary," Li sighs. "But the main cause of the psychological and sexual changes lies ultimately in the extremely unequal distribution of wealth."

Sex is the most neglected of all social issues

Paradoxically, despite the rising anxiety and sense of emptiness among urban men and women, sex is a topic rarely discussed by academics, the public or even the media. "In comparison with poverty, war, disease, racism and starvation, sex is regarded as a trivial subject," the feminist Gayle Rubin, has pointed out.

It's demonstrated in the collective, desperate searching for a one night stand. Chinese women still feel severely oppressed by the traditional view that women should not enjoy sex, and should renounce this activity if they become a widow. Li Yinhe quotes a statistic that 26% of Chinese women have never experienced an orgasm, a figure which stands around 10% in other parts of the world.

So does this mean that we are poised for an extreme and opposite reaction to the virulent sexual oppression of the Cultural Revolution? Li Yinhe says no. Change has happened slowly. The proof is that the average number of sexual partners in China is 1.3 compared to 16 in other parts of the world.

In a recent case, a man who went to an orgy in Nanjing was sentenced to three and a half years of jail time. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Pornography is rife on the Internet, but being caught watching it is harshly punished. When corrupt officials are arrested for embezzlement and fraud, it usual turns out they've had numerous mistresses. The official is not punished for his sexual exploits, but the lonely worker satisfying his fantasies with online porn is a criminal. Until recently it was still possible to be shot for opening a sex shop or running a porn site.

In the West, feminists are usually opposed to pornography, which they say turns women into objects. In China, no such subtlety is necessary: pornography is condemned on moral grounds, that's all.

For Li Yinhe, pornographic films and sex toys are the fruit of people's imagination and are there to stimulate desire. She sees no harm in them as they are objects not actions. For her the Chinese constitution guarantees the freedom of expression and publication, and that includes the contents of a sex shop.

In a good society, not only are you satisfied with your food, but you are also satisfied with your sex life. This is the sign of an advanced society. It is also classical Confucianism. The Communist Party of China has resolved the problem of providing food; now is the time to let that other human desire be fulfilled.

Read the original article in Chinese

Photo - ernop

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The True Horrors Behind 7 Haunted Locations Around The World

With Halloween arriving, we have dug up the would-be ghosts of documented evil and bloodshed from the past.

Inside Poveglia Island's abandoned asylum

Laure Gautherin and Carl-Johan Karlsson

When Hallows Eve was first introduced as a Celtic festival some 2,000 years ago, bonfires and costumes were seen as a legitimate way to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. Today of course, with science and logic being real ghostbusters, spine-chilling tales of haunted forests, abandoned asylums and deserted graveyards have rather become a way to add some mystery and suspense to our lives.

And yet there are still spooky places around the world that have something more than legend attached to them. From Spain to Uzbekistan and Australia, these locations prove that haunting lore is sometimes rooted in very real, and often terrible events.

Shahr-e Gholghola, City of Screams - Afghanistan

photo of  ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola,

The ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola, the City of Screams, in Afghanistan

Dai He/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire


According to locals, ghosts from this ancient royal citadel located in the Valley of Bamyan, 150 miles northwest of Kabul, have been screaming for 800 years. You can hear them from miles away, at twilight, when they relive their massacre.

In the spring 1221, the fortress built by Buddhist Ghorids in the 6th century became the theater of the final battle between Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire, and the Mongol Horde led by Genghis Khan. It is said that Khan's beloved grandson, Mutakhan, had been killed on his mission to sack Bamyan. To avenge him, the Mongol leader went himself and ordered to kill every living creature in the city, children included.

The ruins today bear the name of Shahr-e Gholghola, meaning City of Screams or City of Sorrows. The archeological site, rich in Afghan history, is open to the public and though its remaining walls stay quiet during the day, locals say that the night brings the echoes of fear and agony. Others claim the place comes back to life eight centuries ago, and one can hear the bustle of the city and people calling each other.

Gettysburg, Civil War battlefield - U.S.

photo of rocks and trees in Gettysburg

View of the battlefields from Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA, USA

Unsplash/@nemo23


Even ghosts non-believers agree there is something eerie about Gettysbury. The city in the state of Pennsylvania is now one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for spirits and paranormal activities sight-seeing; and many visitors report they witness exactly what they came for: sounds of drums and gunshots, spooky encounters and camera malfunctions in one specific spot… just to name a few!

The Battle of Gettysburg, for which President Abraham Lincoln wrote his best known public address, is considered a turning point in the Civil War that led to the Union's victory. It lasted three days, from July 1st to July 3rd, 1863, but it accounts for the worst casualties of the entire conflict, with 23,000 on the Union side (3,100 men killed) and 28,000 for the Confederates (including 3,900 deaths). Thousands of soldiers were buried on the battlefield in mass graves - without proper rites, legend says - before being relocated to the National Military Park Cemetery for the Unionists.

Since then, legend has it, their restless souls wander, unaware the war has ended. You can find them everywhere, on the battlefield or in the town's preserved Inns and hotels turned into field hospitals back then.

Belchite, Civil War massacre - Spain

photo of sunset of old Belchite

Old Belchite, Spain

Belchite Town Council


Shy lost souls wandering and briefly appearing in front of visitors, unexplainable forces attracting some to specific places of the town, recorded noises of planes, gunshots and bombs, like forever echoes of a drama which left an open wound in Spanish history…

That wound, still unhealed, is the Spanish Civil War; and at its height in 1937, Belchite village, located in the Zaragoza Province in the northeast of Spain, represented a strategic objective of the Republican forces to take over the nearby capital city of Zaragoza.

Instead of being a simple step in their operation, it became the field of an intense battle opposing the loyalist army and that of General Francisco Franco's. Between August 24 and September 6, more than 5,000 people were killed, including half of Belchite's population. The town was left in rubble. As a way to illustrate the Republicans' violence, Franco decided to leave the old town in ruins and build a new Belchite nearby. All the survivors were relocated there, but they had to wait 15 years for it to be complete.

If nothing particular happens in new Belchite, home to around 1,500 residents, the remains of old Belchite offer their share of chilling ghost stories. Some visitors say they felt a presence, someone watching them, sudden change of temperatures and strange sounds. The ruins of the old village have been used as a film set for Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - with the crew reporting the apparition of two women dressed in period costumes - and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. And in October 1986, members of the television program "Cuarta Dimensión" (the 4th dimension) spent a night in Belchite and came back with some spooky recordings of war sounds.

Gur Emir, a conquerer’s mausoleum - Uzbekistan

photo of Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) i

Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Chris Bradley/Design Pics via ZUMA Wire


The news echoed through the streets and bazaars of Samarkand: "The Russian expedition will open the tomb of Tamerlane the Great. It will be our curse!" It was June 1941, and a small team of Soviet researchers began excavations in the Gur-Emir mausoleum in southeastern Uzbekistan.

The aim was to prove that the remains in the tomb did in fact belong to Tamerlane — the infamous 14th-century conqueror and first ruler of the Timurid dynasty who some historians say massacred 1% of the world's population in 1360.

Still, on June 20, despite protests from local residents and Muslim clergy, Tamerlame's tomb was cracked open — marked with the inscription: "When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble."

Only two days later, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, with the people of Samarkand linking it to the disturbing of Tamerlane's peace. Amid local protests, the excavation was immediately wrapped up and the remains of the Turkish/Mongol conqueror were sent to Moscow. The turning point in the war came with the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad — only a month after a superstitious Stalin ordered the return of Tamerlane's remains to Samarkand where the former emperor was re-buried with full honors.

Gamla Stan, a royal massacre - Sweden

a photo of The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Unsplash/@hkblind


After Danish King Kristian II successfully invaded Sweden and was anointed King in November 1520, the new ruler called Swedish leaders to join for festivities at the royal palace in Stockholm. At dusk, after three days of wine, beer and spectacles, Danish soldiers carrying lanterns and torches entered the great hall and imprisoned the gathered nobles who were considered potential opponents of the Danish king. In the days that followed, 92 people were swiftly sentenced to death, and either hanged or beheaded on Stortorget, the main square in Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Until this day, the Stockholm Bloodbath is considered one of the most brutal events in Scandinavian history, and some people have reported visions of blood flowing across the cobblestoned square in early November. A little over a century later, a red house on the square was rebuilt as a monument for the executed — fitted with 92 white stones for each slain man. Legend has it that should one of the stones be removed, the ghost of the represented will rise from the dead and haunt the streets of Stockholm for all eternity.

Port Arthur, gruesome prison - Australia

a photo of ort Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia

Port Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia

Flickr/Eli Duke


During its 47-year history as a penal settlement, Port Arthur in southern Tasmania earned a reputation as one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. The institution — known for a brutal slavery system and punishment of the most hardened criminals sent from the motherland— claimed the lives of more than 1,000 inmates until its closure in 1877.

Since then, documented stories have spanned the paranormal gamut: poltergeist prisoners terrorizing visitors, weeping children roaming the port and tourists running into a weeping 'lady in blue' (apparently the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth). The museum even has an 'incidence form' ready for anyone wanting to report an otherworldly event.

Poveglia Island, plague victims - Italy

a photo of Poveglia Island, Italy

Poveglia Island, Italy

Mirco Toniolo/ROPI via ZUMA Press


Located off the coast of Venice and Lido, Poveglia sadly reunites all the classical elements of a horror movie: plagues, mass burial ground and mental institute (from the 1920's).

During the bubonic plague and other subsequent pandemics, the island served as a quarantine station for the sick and anyone showing any signs of what could be Black Death contamination. Some 160,000 victims are thought to have died there and the seven acres of land became a mass burial ground so full that it is said that human ash makes up more than 50% of Poveglia's soil.

In 1922 a retirement home for the elderly — used as a clandestine mental institution— opened on the island and with it a fair amount of rumors involving torture of patients. The hospital and consequently the whole island was closed in 1968, leaving all the dead trapped off-land.

Poveglia's terrifying past earned it the nickname of 'Island of Ghosts'. Despite being strictly off-limits to visitors, the site has been attracting paranormal activity hunters looking for the apparition of lost and angry souls. The island would be so evil that some locals say that when an evil person dies, he wakes up in Poveglia, another kind of hell.

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