A specter is haunting China – the specter of porn. The masses, depressed and alienated by the country’s economic slowdown, are turning to hedonistic pursuits for comfort in these dark times. Beijing’s smut watchdog was shocked to find that four videos posted on Sina Corp’s website contained naughty pixels, and promptly subjected the randy nation to a new, um, rectification campaign.
People are getting their kicks in other ways too: Scarfing down fried chicken; crowding into art galleries to ogle paintings by Western masters; distracting themselves with shiny toys like electric cars; and watching movies till their minds turn to mush. The shenanigans go all the way to the top: A mysterious femme fatale is apparently behind the shady deals that have sullied the name of one of the country’s most august enterprises.
Things fall apart (sometimes literally), and the central government can’t hold it together. The discontent of the populace has spilled over into the industrial estates of the world’s factory, where spoiled workers are striking to demand better benefits. Boo, hoo. Maybe if they worked harder, instead of frittering away their time on Korean dramas and WeChat, they’d earn more.
To be sure, Beijing has done its part to encourage such moral laxity and chaos by pushing free-market reforms, like opening 80 projects in SOE-dominated sectors to outside investment and signaling that a new wave of IPOs is nigh, on a country that’s clearly not ready to handle all that freedom. Give ’em an inch, and they take a mile.
Fortunately, there’s a tried and tested solution for when things get out of hand: Blame Japan. If seizing Japanese ships over World War II claims and nabbing employees of Japanese firms for smuggling soybeans doesn’t stir the porn-watching, TV-addicted, fast-food-gobbling masses from their nihilistic funk, nothing will.