The Shenzhen Mistress

(Chongqing Evening News via  Woman tells about how she became a kept mistress.  Her naked descriptions drew condemnations from netizens.  January 15, 2007.

[in translation]

"I am not well educated.  My only assets are my youth and beauty, and these are enough to allow me to live freely ... at present", the essay "I am a kept mistress in Shenzhen" is shaking up the Internet.  In a single month, it has been read more than 200,000 times with more than a thousand comments.

... The post appeared first on December 7, 2006 at the social site  The first entry was: "My name is A-Zhen.  I came from a remote rural village, but I am living now in a prosperous cosmopolitan city ... although we are branded as "mistresses" in people's eyes and we are despised, I live at liberty and comfort ..."  There are about twenty of these blog posts by now, in chronological order.  The posts are written in the first person voice about her bitter beginnings and the stages through which she began a "mistress," including many "realistic depictions."  A-Zhen emphasized that the words and photographs are authentic portrayals of her.

The naked descriptions plus the idea of "the true experiences of a mistress" drew attention immediately.  Within one month, there were more than 240,000 hits and more than 1,300 comments.

Apart from a small number of people who expressed understanding and sympathy, most netizens were skeptical and disgusted.  One netizen thinks that this is another hype after Sister Hibiscus; another said "This type of person will never find happiness"; another netizen warned: "As a woman, you can only receive recognition and respect if you learn how to 'stand up' ..."

Concerning the Internet criticisms, A-Zhen replied: "I am only recording my own experiences.  I don't think that there is anything to be ashamed of.  As the mistress of somebody, I have my own sorrows that nobody else can understand.  Only by writing it out can I give myself a brief comfort."

Chongqing Renge Psychological Consulting Service director Zhao Qing thinks that A-Zhen's actions exhibit two unhealthy traits.  One is an excessive need to express herself -- through the public disclosure of personal information, she receives attention and satisfies her vanity and exhibitionism.  The other is an unbalanced psychological need to vent off -- since she had been rejected by the public for a long period of time, she used this extreme method to vent off.

The City Academy of Social Sciences Research Institute deputy director Zhong Yaoqi thinks that publishing nude photographs and becoming a mistress are unacceptable actions under the old system of social morality.  But she dared to do so because this is a period in which social morality is being breaking down.  During this period of transition in society, social morality has been riddled with holes.  With diverse values now being accepted, social criticism is become very confusing.  The various viewpoints and actions all receive understanding and even support.  With the new generation, there is no longer any difference between beauty and ugliness, black and white.  "If even basic human morality has been subverted, what value is there left to defend?"  Thus, Zhong believes that it is an urgent task to construct a new system of morality that the public can accept.

(Tianya)  But this story isn't so simple.  Take for example the following excerpt about A-Zhen's life at a factory worker.

[in translation]

Ling came back today earlier and she brought me some cosmetics.  She told me: "Min, you ought to make yourself look better.  You look so much like a hick.  Take this and use it.  I have plenty."  I was headstrong and I could not stand her condescension.  I don't like other people looking down on me.  So I said, "I've got my own and I don't need yours.  Thanks."  Ling laughed and said, "This cost more than 50 RMB.  You have your own?"

The next day after work, I took my 450 RMB salary from last month and I walked out of the factory.  That afternoon, I went for a good walk around Shenzhen.  I brought my own 450 RMB and I was going to buy some clothes and accessories so that I can look good and proud in front of Ling.  I don't like her haughty look!  After I got out of the factory, finally learned what 450 RMB in salary represents.  From the Guomau to Huaqiangbei, from Dongmen to Maoye to Suibao in Gangxia , even a decent t-shirt costs 100 or 200 RMB.  I finally saw Shenzhen clearly and for real.  I looked at the bustling Shennan Avenue, I entered the glamorous world of women and I increasingly felt that my life had been so unbecoming.  That day, I strolled around for a long time and I had some indescribable feelings.  I looked at the pedestrians and I made a decision that I shall create a new life for myself.  At that moment, I was fascinated by this city.  I strolled around for a long time and I spend all the money on me.  I bought some contraband brand name clothes and got my hair done.  When I returned to the dormitory, I realized that I look as good as Ling.  The admiring looks from my roommate gave me some comfort.

If the same phrases are searched on Baidu, back comes the novel titled <The Memoirs of a Mistress> written by a man Ling Fengxiang several months ago.

Was this plagiarism?  Or an authorized Internet hype?  Here is A-Zhen's explanation:

[in translation]

1. The opening sections of my essay are borrowed from other people.  I admit it!  Since you have read my blog, you should realize that!  The style of the later essays are very different from the first two essays, because I wrote the later essays.  I think that you can tell.

2. I went to as recommended by a friend.  I went there to chat.  But I saw a 'mistress' essay by chance.  Two sections of the essay matched my personal experience, so I borrowed them and then continued to write (my education is really not high!  I don't want to publish anything.  So I don't think that there is any issue of plagiarism.  Besides, I only used it in the first two sections).  Since you have read everything, you should know whether the later parts were written by a female.

In any case, there is a great deal of skepticism about the story of A-Zhen.