A video of a young couple having sex in a Uniqlo changing room at a popular Beijing mall took off on Chinese social media this week, prompting reprimands from the government and a ton of selfies outside the store.
— ÇapaMagENG (@CapaMagENG) July 16, 2015
The video has been taken down from Weibo and WeChat, but stills from it appear to now be on YouTube. It shows a naked woman and a man getting it on in a small changing room stall, with the man openly filming the whole thing. Since the video has been taken down, it's unclear who uploaded it in the first place. There also hasn't been any indication of whether the woman knew the video would be uploaded online, although she clearly seems to see the man filming.
Chinese government censors, theCyberspace Administration, contacted Weibo and WeChat over the video, demanding that they remove the video from their networks and cooperate with an investigation, according to the South China Morning Post.
“The viral circulation of the obscene fitting room video on the Internet has severely violated socialist core values,” an unnamed official said in a statement, the Morning Post reports.
The statement also suggested that the video was an orchestrated publicity stunt from Uniqlo, a rumor the Japanese company later denied on their website, according to Shanghai Daily.
If it was in fact a marketing ploy, it seems to have worked–the reaction from young Chinese shoppers has been pretty positive. The Guardian's Beijing correspondent writes:
That merchandise seems to have since disappeared, but meanwhile, other brands are capitalizing on the moment with spinoff ads that not-so-subtly reference the video, and photos of some of the merchandize are still on Weibo:
An S.U.V. manufacturer came up with the following ad:
"No need for selfie videos. We have enough space to fit a camera crew."
And this, from BMW, which translates to "Two people. You can try anything you want. Three rows of seats, three times the fun." (with a play on the word for fitting room in Chinese):
The Chinese government has strict controls in place over what websites and content can be accessed from within the country. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are all blocked by a government firewall.
Isabelle Niu is a digital video producer at Fusion.
Nidhi Prakash is a journalist in NYC via Sydney, London, Santiago, Auckland, Mumbai. She reports on international news, healthcare, labor news, and more for Fusion.