We have a new national crisis, and it is "sexting." For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the sending of sexually explicit messages — anything from a dirty joke, to a nude photo — via a cellphone. As the China Daily reported yesterday Henan Province is cracking down on dirty text messages with RMB500 fines (about US$73) and detentions of five days for a single offense and 10 days for three such "sexts". The China Daily story has some unintentional comedy in it, but also raises legitimate questions of how one decides whether a message is vulgar, or how to monitor the millions of text messages.
But none of this really interests me.
More troubling is the news that Party officials in Shenzhe county in Hebei province have held 480 meetings on the topic of "sexting." Since July 10. One hates to invoke that old chestnut "doesn’t the government have something better to do?" when there are surely some very real concerns of sexual harassment involved in "sexting." But give me a break, Hebei.