Imagine walking towards Piccadilly Circus and seeing a pornographic video being broadcast on one of the flashy screens that has become a landmark of the capital. Chinese commuters came across such a scene last week, when a pornographic film entitled “The Forbidden Legend: Sex and Chopsticks” appeared on a giant screen in the city of Jilin for ten minutes.
It is understood that Yuan Mou, a computer technician, loaded the X-rated video on his laptop after repairing the giant screen, unaware that his device was still connected to the display. A crowd of hundreds gathered only 200 metres away from the railway station to watch the advertising board as it blared explicit sounds from the video.
The Southern Advertising Company, who own the screen, contacted Yuan when they were alerted to the incident and although he had already disconnected his device by the time police arrived, he was still detained for questioning.
What might seem like a harmless gaffe is more serious in the context of censorship in the People’s Republic of China. The situation is made potentially worse with the video allegedly having Hong Kong origins.
Under Chinese law, any individual who displays porn on a large screen can be charged with disseminating pornographic audiovisual products, which carried a prison sentence of up to two years.
The film is a movie adaptation of a classic Ming dynasty novel, known as The Plum in the Golden Vase. The book depicts the story of Ximen Qing, a womaniser with 19 sexual partners and many more concubines. The film is said to be considerably more graphic than the original novel.
One poster on Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo suggested that similar broadcasts could be good for business: “This is good advertising.”