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At Least Four Arrested For Involvement In Sex Video Shot In A Uniqlo Dressing Room

The video, that was filmed in a Beijing store and managed to completely consume the Chinese internet, led to the arrest of at least four people, Beijing police said Sunday.

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Beijing police arrested at least four people for their involvement in a sex tape that was shot at a Uniqlo store, according to a statement released Sunday. The video that blew up on social media was allegedly shot inside of a Uniqlo dressing room in April.

Of those arrested, a 19-year-old man who goes by the surname Sun was charged with distributing the obscene material, the Beijing police statement said. The statement also references three others who were detained, along with the man and woman seen in the video. It was not clear if the couple were included in the tally or were in addition to the three others detained.

According to the police statement the couple said they sent the video to a friend on the WeChat app, the AP reported. The video eventually wound up being shared around on Sina Weibo.

Although Uniqlo denies any involvement in the video, police were also investigating whether or not the video was a publicity stunt carried out by the store.

Here's how the whole story unfolded last week:

Wednesday morning, Chinese people woke up, checked their WeChat and Weibo, and discovered a sex tape.

WeChat

The short video, which showed a man and woman having sex, was literally everywhere: a screenshot of Weibo's "trending" section shows that at one point, at least seven out of the 10 top trends on the social media site were about the sex tape.

Overnight, the internet not only figured out where the video was shot — a fitting room in Uniqlo's flagship store located in Beijing's popular Sanlitun area — but also managed to find the two subjects on social media.

Weibo

Screenshots of a conversation suspected to be between the video's female half and a friend was also uploaded online, indicating that the woman met the man while shopping.

BuzzFeed News has not confirmed either the source of the video or the screenshots of it that have been uploaded.

The internet's first reaction: The whole thing was a publicity stunt by Uniqlo, given that a clear in-store broadcast could be heard and the video looked staged.

WeChat

The video got millions of shares in just a couple of hours overnight, and many joked that it was a brilliant PR strategy.

This screenshot of what appeared to be Uniqlo's official reaction was spreading as well, saying that the company will decorate and upgrade the fitting room space, commenting that "this is called a custom experience." Other screenshots of social media reactions from Uniqlo's fast fashion competitors came soon thereafter, stating that they had better fitting room environments.

More and more internet commenters joined the conversation: Some wrote poems; some expressed sympathy with motel chains; and on China's popular e-shopping site, Taobao, "products" providing the videos for those who couldn't find shorthand links quickly appeared.

At this point, those poor souls who slept in awoke to be shocked by the fact that their social media pages were FLOODED with the whole sex tape conversation. But, alas: Most of the ~brand~ reactions were faked or photoshopped.

By Wednesday morning, Beijing time, Uniqlo China had posted a statement on its official Weibo account — as well as its official Chinese website — denying that the incident was a publicity strategy of the family-friendly brand.

Statement About "Uniqlo Sanlitun Video Incident":1. UNQLO is highly concerned about the information circulating around online regarding "Uniqlo Sanlitun video incident," and has reported the incident to relevant social media.2. As a responsible international brand, UNIQLO has always dedicated to provide our customers with a peaceful, comfortable, and superior shopping experience and environment, at the same time, we also respectfully request consumers to obey social ethics, maintain social righteousness, and to use the fitting rooms UNIQLO stores provide appropriately.3. And regarding the online discussion whether the incident is one of UNIQLO's marketing strategies, we firmly issue a denial.

The Beijing police have started an investigation into the incident, too. Public indecency isn't a crime in China. What is controversial is just who uploaded the video online and whether the two people's behavior was immoral.

Sex video of man and women in UNIQLO fitting room in Beijing went viral. Police investigate. http://t.co/dUH1FwSuMH

Until around noon on Wednesday, the search result of the Chinese characters of Uniqlo, 优衣库, were censored on Sina Weibo, except for the official statement.

But alternative keywords of the incident could — and can still — be easily found on Weibo.

And with "only" two people's privacy exposed in a country where individual rights are less important than public rights, a lot of Chinese people seem to be enjoying the whole situation.

Throughout Wednesday, many local residents flocked to take pictures in front of and inside the Uniqlo chain store where the incident happened, posing like tourists, or like the subjects of the sex tape.

Dozens of chinese make selfie in front of Uniqlo after the viral smartphone video #sextape in #UNIQLO , in #beijing

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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