Chinese Web Writer Arrested for Exposing Local Porn Industry

October 1, 2010 6:30 pm Last Updated: October 2, 2010 3:39 am

Chinese high school teacher and blogger Yuan Lei wrote the internet novel "In Dongguan" to expose Dongguan City's hidden pornographic world, but was instead arrested by local government who found it "objectionable."

Southern Daily reported on Sept. 28 that police captured Yuan at his school on the 26th, claiming the writing damaged Dongguan City's image in a big way. The police are treating Yuan Lei's case as a criminal offense.

"In Dongguan" is a 350,000 word novel, describing Dongguan City's hidden world, around the life of the younger generation and the local sauna and porn industry."

China’s popular tianya.cn forum saw 2.6 million web clicks since the novel was first serially published in June 2009. More than a dozen publishers have approached Yuan, though the novel has not yet passed official scrutiny.

Following Yuan's arrest, many web users commented that this novel merely reflects reality and should not be called disseminating pornography. Some were shocked to discover that writing a novel could even be cause for arrest.

Yuan Lei's wife Yuan Fang indicated that "In Dongguan" describes the sauna business in Dongguan. "It is a novel criticizing the underbelly of society's sexual activities and in no way connotes sexual implications."

Writer Wang Xiaoshan indicated in an interview with Deutsche Welle, [a German media] "In Dongguan" contains less sexual content than many other approved publications. He believes "Yuan had annoyed certain people, which is the reason for his arrest, not the actual writing."

Popular Chinese web writer Murong Xuacun indicated feeling the threat after the news. "If this person could be arrested, the next one to be arrested might be me. Or, if this person is arrested now, I should have been arrested a long time ago. I saw bloggers joking, "Murong Xuacun ought to give himself up to the police, since I also have caused a negative impact to the image of Chengdu City."

Former Peking University journalism professor Jiao Guobiao indicated in his interview with Radio Free Asia that police are free to arrest whomever they like, at any place and at any time. The local police have become a privately owned protection force for any local politician, gang, or businessmen with power or money.

The latest news about Yuan's case came out today – Yuan was released on Sept 29 by local police. Yuan published a note on tianya.cn forum thanking media and netizens for their support.

Hu Shigeng, former lecturer at Beijing Language and Culture University told NTDTV that Chinese authorities released Yuan under the pressure of civilian's voices. It is an indication of the awakening of Chinese people, and the power of people.