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China: Yunnan Naked Girl Seeking Justice

Recently, “Yunnan Naked Girl” has become one of the hottest topic in the Chinese Internet world. A 21-year old girl, Peng Chunping decided to post her nude photos online in order to draw attention and help from the society. ESWN has translated a full report from Southern Weekend on the background of this girl, her petition journey and what she had been through in her “nude protest”.

According to Southern Weekend's story, Peng was an orphan whose father was sentenced to death penalty in 2000 because of murder and her mother left the village for work on the same year. In 2003, when Peng was 15-year old, she started her journey to find her mother. She returned 2 years later and found that her household registration and house had been taken away. She blamed her family misery to local government's oppression and started her petition journey.

She wrote blog, called major media, paid petition visit to county and provincial government and finally reached Beijing in June 2008. There she heard of the story of FurongJiejie or Sister Lotus – how she became famous by posting photos online. Since then she has published three sets of nude photos and attracted some media attention. Of course the focus was not in her injustice. Some reporters even directly or discretely indicated to her that her “injustice” were not valid. She would get angry and blame the reporters. The most recent development was about her sexual relation with a Yunnan reporter, who eventually disappointed her in his report on her story.

There are many doubts about the credibility of Peng's story, for example, some comments on her personal blogsaid:

如果是一件客观真实的事情,逻辑上是不会出现这么多可笑甚至荒谬的结构的。你说的东西可能是真的,但是那成分少得可怜。

If the story were true, there wouldn’t be so many funny even ridiculous loopholes. What you said was probably true, but that proportion of truth was too small.

A Netease netizen even questioned her intention:

彭春平就是想骗钱……她在我们这里就是做小姐的,到处骗男人的钱!

Peng Chunping’s real intention is to defraud people…She is a local call-girl and has cheated money from her customers everywhere!

However some do take Peng's story seriously with sympathy as it told us a lot about the China society in the grassroots level, in particular the failure of grassroots social welfare. yghren pointed out that even she had psychological problem, the society should help her:

假如她确实是无理取闹,假如她确实有神经病,我们、我们的政府、我们的妇联就看着她自生自灭吗?

Suppose she is indeed making a scene of herself, and she is really a psycho, shall we, our government and our women federation do nothing and look at her falling into the abyss of self-destruction?

In the comment section of her blog Liu Xu, a Sichuan netizen who had suffered from the earthquake also blessed her:

祝福你像四川人承受地震灾害一样坚强不屈,与坏人斗争到底!!!相信胜利一定属于正义的,也是属于你的!!!!!!!!

Please stay strong and indomitable, like what Sichuan people did during the Wenchuan Earthquake. We believe victory belongs to justice, as well as to you!

The role and ethics of the media was again brought under the spotlight. A blog  written by 静夜思(Calm Night Thoughts) response to Southern Weekend’s coverage discussed why the girl is willing to post her nude photos on line and fall victims to vicious people again and again.

那 什么是彭少女想要获取的东西呢?答案只有一个:就是记者掌握的话语权、媒体具备的社会影响力!彭少女一年前贴出裸照上演“裸女寻母”时就说的很清楚:为了 制造轰动效应,为了引起更多的人们的关注! 一年之后,彭少女之所以愿意献身记者,可能是因为其渐渐明白:自己打打闹闹固然可以声名大噪,但这又能如何?想要真正地吸引眼球、让社会各界知晓自己,还 得借助记者、媒体。因为记者掌握着自己不具备的话语权、媒体具备着自己永远无法企及的社会影响力。

What the girl wants most? The only answer is: the right of speech that reporters enjoy and the social influence that media produce. When Peng first displayed her naked photo and started the “Naked Girl Seeking Mother” story, she made clear that her intention is to create social sensation and draw more people’s attention! One year thereafter, when Peng was willing to make the sexual deal with the reporter, she probably understood although she could become famous by the buzz her naked photos made, then what? Only with the aid of reporters and media can she really made herself (as well as the unfair treatment her family suffered) known to the society, as reporters are able to exercise the right of speech that she doesn’t have, and she can never impose a social influence like the media.

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