August 2006

This story has more twists and turns than back-to-back American Bandstand and Soul Train classic rebroadcasts.

First there’s the risable “Sex and Shanghai” blog itself (foreigner writes about alleged sexual trysts with ex-students).

Then the indignant Chinese backlash (Chinese professor’s call to unmask and expel the author ‘Chinabounder’).

Then the ‘Sex and Shanghai’ blog goes limp, taken offline “except by invitation only.”

Yesterday I suggested my skepticism over Chinabounder being who he claimed, and necessarily doing what he claimed, or even being where he claimed (back home in Denver, I suggested, which a commentor further speculated to “pimple-faced geek in Denver”.)

And now, reported via, an AP story headlined “Chinese Internet users hunt author of racy blog, but alleged authors claim a hoax” takes this a step further:

…a person responding to an e-mail to a contact address on the site said the authors were a group of performance artists who had fabricated its content as an investigation into online vigilante behavior.

“We did not anticipate quite the level of anger this would raise,” said the message, which said the authors behind the cyber name “Chinabounder” included a British man, an Australian woman, two Chinese men and a Japanese woman.

Already being skeptical of whomever is behind ‘Sex and Shanghai’, I don’t know if I buy that this was started as “an investigation into online vigilante behavior.”

If it is a serious investigation, and not a mere attempt at juvenile provocation–like reports of a young foreigner scattering change at a Beijing bus stop hoping to get Chinese people to chase the coins like hungry beggars–then there had better be a formal publication of findings in the pipeline.

Otherwise, here are a few observations and predictions:

First, Chinabounder, or someone claiming to be Chinabounder, has posted comments on at least one other blog. I noticed them on this post at John Pasden’s Sinosplice from back in May. If Chinabounder has commented elsewhere, then John and the owners of those other blogs could compare notes and report back to us whether Chinabounder’s posting IP is in Shanghai or not. (Or in Denver, perhaps.)

Second, Chinabounder is obviously in touch with the China Blog-osphere. He (or they) were reading Pasden’s Sinosplice Life blog at least as far back as May, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Chinabounder (or at least one of the “performance artists”) has posted there before under a different name.

Third–this enters further into the realm of pure speculation–I have noticed echoes of Chinabounder’s criticisms of China on other blogs under different user names. Chinabounder’s blog is offline now and I can’t find the exact reference, but one day I read a Chinabounder gripe about China that used many of the exact same phrases used by someone who comments regularly at Richard TPD’s blog. I’m not going to say who that poster is, and though it’s possible, I don’t mean to imply that they’re necessarily the same person, only that this “performance artist” group has perhaps sometimes “borrowed” from commentators elsewhere to create the fictional Chinabounder’s rants.

But my overall hunch at this point: Someone knows. Someone in the China Blog-osphere not currently known to be associated with this whole ‘Sex and Shanghai’ thing knows. I am by no means suggesting it’s John Pasden or Richard TPD just because I’ve mentioned their blogs in this post, but Someone Established in This China-Blogosphere Knows. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a blog author we know by a different name, maybe it’s someone who overheard something at the Shanghaiist 80’s Happy Hour. Who knows. Could be anyone.

But someone knows and isn’t telling.

And with a virtual lynch mob at the IP gate, that is perhaps not a bad thing.

Because if there’s anything Chinese hate worse than reading about some of their “wayward girls” doing the nasty with “ugly foreigners,” it’s being baited by foreigners who are trying to elicit their “arrogant” and vitriolic responses in order to ridicule them.

Related: ‘Sex and Shanghai’ Backlash in Machine Translation

Angle #1 Background

1. There’s a blog kept by a fellow allegedly from England who graphically chronicles his alleged sexual conquests of Chinese women in Shanghai, many of them his former students.

2. Blogs hosted on Google’s blogspot (as ‘Sex and Shanghai’ is) were until recently inaccessible in China.

3. Once ‘Sex and Shanghai’ became accessible in China, some Chinese people discovered it.

4. One of these people, Zhang Jiehai, a professor of psychology at the Department of Sociology in the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, is calling for an all-out witchhunt to unmask and expel the semi-anonymous writer of ‘Sex and Shanghai’.

5. Roland Soong, a dual Hong Kong/USA citizen who often provides English translations of current Chinese articles, news stories and blog/forum entries, has translated Zhang Jiehai’s diatribe.

6. Lots of Chinese (mostly the young male variety, I guess) began leaving blog comments that threaten the ‘Sex in Shanghai’ blogger’s person, relatives, and so on.

7. The ‘Sex and Shanghai’ blog is now closed except by invitation only, at least for the time being.

There are a few different spins on this story going on…but I’m not 100% sure why. Until there’s a video-taped ass-kicking, hidden Web cam rendezvous, police raid, attack on an embassy, exclusive interview with one of the blogger’s conquests or something along those lines, it’s all just mild titillation. (Think National Enquirer.)

Why would I say that?

Because it’s nothing new, that’s why.

It’s just that this version of this story is being blogcasted and people can play along at home.

(And if anyone thinks that it’s all significant because “It’s the first time anything of this nature has ever played out via the Internet and blogs!”…then my-oh-my, you really do need to get out more.)

So…slightly more interesting to me today (though I’ll try to blend these two stories)….

Angle #2 Background

I recently decided to try out Google’s Chinese-to-English machine translation tool, and to see how it compares to what Altavista’s Babelfish online machine translation tool spits out.

And just for kicks, I decided to use Zhang Jiehai’s essay for the comparison.

Here, side by side for your convenience, are the first six paragraphs of (1) Zhang Jiehai’s “rout the garbage foreigner” essay, (2) Roland Soong’s translation of the same, (3) the Google Translator tool’s take on it, and–in last place, as you’ll see–(4) the Altavista “Babelfish” translator’s feeble spit-out. (And don’t miss my closing comments and external links down below.)

Original from Zhang Jiehai (张结海
Roland Soong’s ESWN Translation

Google’s Translator

Altavista’s Babelfish


Today, with
tremendous anger, I will tell you the story of an immoral foreigner and I
call upon all Chinese compatriots to get together and kick this immoral
foreigner out of China.
Today I tell you
with a very angry mood foreign hooligans story, and called on all citizens
to go into action compatriots, the Chinese foreign hooligans cleaning up.
Today I have the
exceedingly indignant feelings to tell everybody a foreign hoodlum the
story, and summoned fellow people compatriot goes into action together,
sweeps clear this foreign hoodlum China.




This is how it is:
Several days ago, a friend told me about a blog run by an English man in
Shanghai.  I read it and I was shocked, angered and disgusted … after I
read his blog, I had only one idea: This is intolerable and this piece of
garbage must be found and kicked out of China!!!


What happened is
this : A few days ago, a Website visitor told me a symbol of the British
people in Shanghai. After I read shock, anger, nausea : :, read his
enormous, I have only one thought : can forbearance, everyone can
forbearance? We must find out the refuse, he expelled from China! ! !
This is how it
happened: Several days ago, 网友 told me in Shanghai’s Englishes 博克. I will
look at later to shock, indignantly, am disgusting… … After Looked at
him 博克, I only have a thought: Is may endure, 孰不可忍? Certainly must discover
this trash, expels him China! ! !




In his blog, he
used extremely obscene and filthy language to record how he — a foreign
language teacher in Shanghai — used his status as a teacher to dally with
Chinese women, most of whom were his students.  At the same time, he did
everything that he could to insult, debase and distort the Chinese
government and the Chinese men.


He Bokeli by
extremely obscene, recorded his dirty language — one in Shanghai Waijiao —
teachers using the identity of the Chinese woman in Shanghai with the
process, which has been his most Chinese women students; At the same time,
he also committed to insult, slander, distortion of the Chinese government
and Chinese men.
He in 博克 in, with
extremely obscene, the dirty language recorded his – – to teach in
Shanghai’s outside – – to use teacher’s status, played with the Chinese
woman’s process in Shanghai, but these Chinese women majority of
unexpectedly were his students; At the same time, he to the utmost can
insult, slander, twists the Chinese government and the Chinese male.




His blog began this
way to describe his life in Shanghai: "Therefore, you see, I was with Star
on Saturday and I was with Yingying on Sunday.  In between, I contacted
Cherry via MSN, I telephoned Rina and I used SMS to flirt with Tulip.  I
send Susan an email to flirt with her, and I professed my love to Wendy on
her blog."


He is in the
beginning of this symbol in Shanghai described his life : "So you see, this
Saturday me and Star together, and I Yingying Sunday together. Intermediate
I and vulnerability through MSN links to a telephone to Rina, using SMS
flirting Tulip.Susan I sent her a letter of good can achieve flirt, and
through the Boke Schwartz to her task. "
He in 博克 as soon as
starts is describes him like this in Shanghai’s life: "Therefore, you
looked, this Saturday I and Star in same place, Sunday I and Yingying in
same place. Middle I through MSN with the Cherry relation, make a phone call
to give Rina, teases Tulip with SMS. Susan I sent Email to her to flirt, and
wooed through the Wendy abundant guest to her."





This piece of
garbage openly declared in this blog that he was only dallying with these
female Chinese students.  He said, "We don’t talk about love, we don’t talk
about marriage, we don’t even talk about being together."  Once, he was even
shameless enough to say, "I ‘m tired of her already.  A c*nt is a c*nt.  I
keep her just so that I can play with her again."



The garbage in
Bokeli publicly declared that he simply playing to the Chinese female
students. He said : "We talk about love, about marriage, or even about
living together," he even has a sense that "I have tired her, X (female
genital mutilation) is X, I left her just to play with her later. "
This trash in 博克 in
publicly declared that, he purely only is for play with these Chinese female
students. He said that, "we do not discuss the love, does not discuss the
marriage, even did not discuss he unexpectedly has in the same place" time
impudent and shameless said, "I have already been weary of her, X (feminine
reproductive organ) was X, I will be keeping her only am play with her again
for later."

This piece of
garbage’s favorite show is to use obscene and pornographic language to
describe the bodies of Chinese women and how they made love.  For example,
"My dearest Tingting, you have a very good and beautiful body.  I cannot
stop thinking about your beautiful skin, your lovely, smooth and soft
breasts, you sexy, smooth and fine waist, your sweet and pretty legs and
arms … oh, of course, you are so pretty, so sexy and so perfect between
your legs!"
This activity is
the garbage, and use of obscene, pornographic, the female body and the
Chinese language as they make love process. For example, "my dear graceful,
you have an excellent, pretty good; I can not stop miss you beautiful skin,
you lovely, sleek, soft breasts, you sexy, sleek, refined lower abdomen, you
sweet, elegant in the thigh and arm : : Oh, of course, in between your legs,
you are how beautiful, how sexy, how perfect!
This trash
specialty is, with and its is obscene, the yellow language describes the
process which the Chinese feminine body and they makes love. For instance,
"my dear Ting Ting, you have extremely good, the attractive body; I am
unable to stop thinking of your attractive skin, you are lovable, smoothly,
the soft breast, your sex appeal, smooth, fine lower abdomen, you
delightful, graceful thigh and arm… … Oh, certainly, between yours two
legs, you is the how unattractiveness, how sex appeal, how perfect!

My own conclusions:

  1. Zhang Jiehai’s diatribe is absurd, and pardon me for stooping this low, but if he were gettin’ any himself, he wouldn’t care one iota about the ‘Sex and Shanghai’ author’s escapades.
  2. I find the overtly sexual content in the ‘Sex and Shanghai’ blog to be pretty boring, really.
  3. I’ve had doubts all along–still do–whether the tales in the blog are entirely true, and even if there’s truth involved, whether they’re current. Maybe the author was in Shanghai, did have some similar experiences, but is now fictionalizing them (and his own persona) back home, say, in Denver. Admit it, it’s possible….
  4. After running several comparison tests of various Chinese sources–this one shows it enjoying only a slight advantage–it’s clear that Google’s machine translation ability has far outpaced Altavista’s.
  5. Lots of the Chinglish diatribes by angry young Chinese commenters on the ‘Sex and Shanghai’ blog read like they were translated using Altavista’s Babelfish tool.
  6. The following are phrases from the machine translation versions that I want on t-shirts:
    • Certainly must discover this trash, expels him China! ! !
    • “my dear graceful, you have an excellent, pretty good…refined lower abdomen.”
    • Susan I sent her a letter of good can achieve flirt, and through the Boke Schwartz to her task.”

    And my favorite:

    • I have only one thought : can forbearance, everyone can forbearance?

OK, click away:

Update: Get it while you can: ‘Sex and Shanghai’ via the Google Cache

Related: Sex and Shanghai’s “Chinabounder”: Pimple-Faced Geek in Denver, or Traitor in Our Midst?

The Cultural Revolution officially began on August 8th, 1966.

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics is scheduled for August 8th, 2008.

42 years apart, I’ve just realized. 42. To the day.

Hmm, I’m going to keep thinking about this one for awhile before drawing any hard and fast conclusions.

42, of course, is the number posited in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy “from which all meaning (the meaning of life, the universe, and everything) could be derived.” (

Illustrated Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The

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