Molesting Wax Statues in China

(People's Daily)  September 18, 2006.

[in translation]

Last Saturday, a group of men and women were fooling around at the Madame Toussaint Wax Museum in Shanghai with mischievous intent.  Afterwards, a batch of photographs was posted on the Internet and drew sharp criticisms from netizens.  The self-proclaimed troublemaker named Zhang De (nickname) apologized on the Internet, and offered to work as an unpaid volunteer at the wax museum for one day.

According to Hong Kong media reports, the Madame Toussaint Wax Museum had taken the measurements of the singing duo Twins, Joey Yung, Andy Lau, Coco Li and Nicholas Tse and made wax statues in recent years.  This allowed the tourists to have close contact with their idols.  Last Saturday, several men and women came to the museum under the guise of viewing the exhibits, but they acted with mischief.  They made faces in front of the statues and they touched the faces and ears of the figures.  Two of the men even embraced the statues of Twins from behind and placed their hands on the breasts.  Another woman attacked the breast of Coco Li with obviously mischievous intent.

Afterwards, someone posted these indecent photographs at certain Internet community section for everyone to see.  When the netizens saw these obscene acts, they were outraged and condemned those actions.  A netizen wrote: "What a waste!  Art is for enjoyment, not for abuse.  I don't know what the people who made the statues would think if they see these photographs."

On the evening before yesterday, the troublemaker named Zhang De responded on the Internet.  He claimed to be have recently arrived in Shanghai from Beijing.  He is a photographer by profession.  In his view, the wax museum is not just a place to get close to celebrities, but it is also a place to make fun of them.  He insisted: "I did not see any museum sign that prohibited touching the wax figures."  But he did not expect that the photographs would be posted on the Internet and received such broad circulation.  He said: "I was shocked to see many criticisms from netizens.  This time, I was over my head, and the affair is blowing up."

Zhang De also said: "Why take liberties with Twins?  You only do this if you like them."  After the netizens poured out the criticisms, Zhang De finally apologized publicly and he asked the website to delete the photographs on the grounds that they were immoral.  Early morning yesterday, he apologized: "I am willing to volunteer to work one day at the museum to explain to the tourists how to properly view the wax statues of celebrities."

Yesterday, the reporter checked the website and saw that the original photographs have been removed.  But numerous netizens have published the relevant reports on the Internet, even though the response was not as enthusiastic as before.  According to the museum's general director Yang Rong: "We have met to discuss solutions.  This sort of obscene activity is infuriating."

(Shanghai Media Group)

Q: Why did you think about taking these photographs?
A: I said in my post that I thought this was for fun.

Q: At the time, did you think that the consequences would so serious?
A: I did not know that.  I just wanted to send it around to my friends.  I did not think that someone would forward it to the MOP forum.

Q: You did this to them because you like them?
A: Yes.

Q: Are you sorry now?
A: I'm sorry.  Of course, I'm sorry.

Q: Like volunteering in order to make it up to the wax museum?
A: I feel that I should apologize through the mass media for taking these relatively vulgar photographs.  At the time, I was probably too engrossed in
恶搞 ("egao").  I did not imagine that there would be so many conseqeunces, and I did not imagine that things would end up this way.

Q: Why did your friends think when they saw the photos?
A: They did not think much.  I mean to say that I did not want to publicize this little thing.  I just want to share them within a small circle of friends.  But as soon as it got forwarded to a mainstream website, the effect becomes different.  Right now, many people are saying that I am hyping this up along with the museum, and that I want to take this opportunity to become famous or something.