2018-08-10 13:06:36

China’s Communist Youth League has condemned a sex store over a video featuring a Japanese former porn star wearing a red scarf — an iconic symbol to younger members of the Party faithful.

“This company has ignored the country’s laws, ignored social norms, and ignored the spirit of the Young Pioneers and the red scarf,” read the post, published Thursday on social app WeChat. “This has stained the image of China’s Young Pioneers, and we hereby condemn it!”

Last week, a video of Sora Aoi wearing the red scarf — an essential accoutrement for children in the Communist Youth League’s Young Pioneers program — was shared on Chinese social media, including microblogging platform Weibo, along with rumors that the former adult film actor had been hired to teach Young Pioneers.

Netizens soon discovered that the video — later taken offline — was part of a July 29 charity event in southwestern Yunnan province organized by Baizhentang, an online sex shop catering to men that had invited Aoi to be its brand ambassador.

The 34-year-old Aoi may well be China’s most widely adored porn star. Her Weibo account, registered in 2010, has nearly 19 million followers, and she is frequently engaged for commercial events in China.

“She has an innocent face and huge boobs — a pretty dreamy combination to most deadbeat straight guys,” said Shanghai-based marketing specialist Ma Jialie. But the main reason for Aoi’s popularity in China, Ma told Sixth Tone, is because of her surprisingly pro-China views.

After leaving the adult film industry in 2011, Aoi began studying Chinese and practicing traditional calligraphy. On her Weibo account, she calls herself a proponent of “Sino-Japanese friendship.” From Aoi’s Chinese name, Cang Jingkong, netizens took to affectionately referring to her as “Teacher Cang.”

Even in 2012, when a maritime territorial dispute sparked anti-Japanese sentiment in China and sales of Japanese brands suffered, Aoi emerged from the tensions unscathed. As one protestor’s slogan put it, “The Diaoyu Islands belong to China, and Sora Aoi belongs to everyone.”

Hours after the Communist Youth League aired its grievances, Baizhentang posted an apology on Weibo and promised that such a faux pas would not happen again. “The red scarf being mistakenly used during the event triggered a lot of negative opinions and hurt a lot of people’s feelings,” read the post. “We earnestly support the leadership of the Party, and we will improve our patriotic education.”

Some of the 6,000 comments under Baizhentang’s apology echoed the sentiments expressed by the league: “You seriously think of ‘Teacher Cang’ as a teacher?” read the most upvoted response.

However, other net users failed to see how inviting Aoi to participate in the charity event was in any way unpatriotic. “Please don’t apologize,” read one of the more supportive comments. “You did nothing wrong.”

Editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: A screenshot from the video of Japanese former porn star Sora Aoi wearing a red scarf, Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province, July 29, 2018.)