This interview with the author of a new book about “Chinese people’s views of pornography and sexual identity” (‘People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet’, published by Intellect Books) is interesting as far as it goes, although as usual in much of academia, unnecessary and unsupported generalisations — given in an faux-qualified and faux-authoritative tone — are legion.
I mention it on this blog because of this section of the interview concerning Hong Kong:
CNNGo: How do attitudes towards sex differ between Hong Kong and mainland China?
Jacobs: People in Hong Kong recognize Western discourses [on sexuality] more but they are still extremely shy about participating, almost squeamish.
On the mainland people are often more open to expressing themselves. I think Hong Kongers are repressed, actually.
CNNGo: Why do you think that is?
Jacobs: People who are interested in sex seem to be stigmatized here. To have a good sex life is not an important value in Hong Kong.
I strongly doubt that the author, a Katrien Jacobs, has any evidence for this being the case. She’s already shut out criticism by claiming that the reason for any negative reactions to her research is (as the interviewer paraphrased it) because “taboos die hard in a restricted society”. That may be so, but taboos about academics being rigorous researchers and not scurrilous mythmakers are worth holding on to, in my doubtless patriarchal opinion.
For the record, it is extremely easy to obtain pornography here from street-side magazine stalls, let alone online. And of course there’s the (in)famous Sex and Zen film which outgrossed [and not just in the money sense] Avatar in Hong Kong. Ironically, if you’re still confused, it needed to be cut in the UK before its cinema release there. Would Ms. Jacobs say Brits are sexually repressed? OK, maybe she wouldn’t be wrong there…
I have been doing some research of my own into the obscenity legislation in Hong Kong — much of which is based on old British law and is indeed somewhat puritanical — which I will report on soon. There’s even a hilarious government-endored anti-obscenity site to reveal to you! [I have too much free time, clearly].