Issue of peeping toms raised in Shenzhen

Kevin McGeary , October 12, 2012 7:00am

In the interests of raising awareness of the number of peeping toms in Shenzhen, Southern Metropolis Daily has published a selection of photographs up women’s skirts. What a public service!

Apparently, photographers from the paper went to footbridges, stairs and escalators to demonstrate how easy it is to get such shots after hearing complaints about the number of women around the city dressed in revealing clothing. According to the report, part of the problem is the “excessive use of transparent glass” in Shenzhen’s commercial buildings, notably, elevators and escalators.

A man in Shenzhen named Mr. Ye was recently standing on an escalator and when he looked up, he could see up a girl’s skirt, according to the paper. He told the reporter that he immediately looked down in embarrassment, but questioned how somebody could be stopped from taking a photograph in such circumstances. On reaching the top, he warned the girl about wearing such revealing clothes in public, but considering that Guangdong is hot for most of the year, short skirts are unlikely to go out of fashion here any time soon.

The issue is not unique to Shenzhen. According to Hong Kong media, in 2010, Police in the SAR received 170 formal complaints of such behaviour, resulting in 149 arrests. Punishments ranged from two years in jail to a $5,000 fine.

While Hong Kong based Women’s advocacy groups have helped to raise awareness of the issue in Hong Kong, no such action has been taken in Shenzhen. According to the report, women are encouraged to avoid “high risk areas” such as the aforementioned commercial buildings, and opt for more conservative attire, avoiding hot pants and mini skirts.

Needless to say, the story’s publication has proven controversial. One respondent at iFeng, said: “Are you crazy? Who would want to look at something so disgusting?” Another argued that the only reason women dressed that way was to draw lustful stares from men. Another scolded the reporter and questioned his motives.

Perhaps most interesting however, while the report offers a number of suggestions for women to avoid being photographed, there is a clear absence of suggestions as to what can be done to prevent the perpetrators taking the photographs in the first place. So, what is your opinion on this, err, hot topic?

Kevin McGeary

China hand, bawdy balladeer.