Freedom of expression, freedom of commerce, freedom of whatever-now, the latest political battle in China fights for the freedom to appear as we do in nature: naked.
Tourism marketers for the southern tropical Chinese island of Hainan liken it to “China’s Hawaii.” But Hainan also boasts the country’s most popular—-well, only-—nudist beach, Dadonghai. Back in February, officials in the area stormed the sand, ordering peacefully bathing nudists to clothe, ASAP, or risk punishment. Apparently, nudism is so scary to the officials there, that they even handed out pre-printed pamphlets detailing the Communist Party’s ban on the act.
But this past weekend, a new group of heroes appeared as protestors for civil rights: Rebel nudists! Forget the ban, they decided. Dozens of men stripped away their trunks, flouting the rules until two naked bathers were even detained after refusing to “accept persuasion,” according to a report in the Telegraph.
Why the fuss? Communism isn’t a religion, and we’re pretty sure Karl Marx didn’t write anything specifically about naked sunbathing. According to the Naked Historian, a blog that chronicles nudism and naturism globally, it might date back to Confucian values, “which emphasize a sense of propriety and shame,” blogger Colin H. wrote in a post titled “Nudism in China.”
While we leave Chinese nudists to fight the good fight for global naturist tourists, might we recommend Fusion’s home state of Florida? The state boasts no state-imposed values of any kind, and boasts some of the most friendly naturists around. Check out our first-hand account from last month.
Arielle Castillo is Fusion's culture editor, reporting on arts, music, culture, and subcultures from the streets on up. She's also a connoisseur of weird Florida, weightlifting, and cats.