'Uniqlo sex video' is no laughing matter

'Uniqlo sex video' is no laughing matter

A "sex video" allegedly recorded in a fitting room of a clothing store in Beijing's Sanlitun area has gone viral, after being uploaded on the Internet on July 14.

The one-minute video showing a man and a woman having sex - and apparently shot by the man with his mobile phone - has reportedly been shared millions of times on social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat.

Local media outlets say Uniqlo, the store where the video was supposedly recorded, has seen a sharp increase in footfall since Wednesday, with many people taking photographs in front of the building. Uniqlo has issued a statement, denying that the incident is a publicity stunt and advising customers to "properly use its fitting rooms".

Sex sells. But it is highly unlikely that a reputable company will use explicit sex videos to boost sales. Such companies know full well that gimmicks will boost business for now, but can be damaging in the long run.

The video was soon removed by major websites, but it is still available on smaller forums and social networks. The video in itself is shocking enough, but more disturbing is some people's attitude towards a case of serious breach of individual privacy.

Equally shocking is the fact that the incident has given some companies and netizens the opportunity to cash in on the public craze at the expense of others.

While many people have condemned the spread of the video, many more seem to be asking where it can be viewed.

Other clothing retailers such as Zara and H&M quickly sniffed out the commercial opportunity, and quipped on their microblog accounts that they have better and more spacious fitting rooms than Uniqlo.

Some people even seek to make easy money by hawking the video online. Within hours, T-shirts with the woman's image, captured from the video, went on sale on Taobao. Soon after, the alleged identities of the duo in the video were dug out in a wild online "human flesh search".

Beijing police have since detained six people. The couple who allegedly appeared in the video have been released, but the other four are being held for allegedly uploading the video.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's top Internet regulator, quickly summoned managers of Sina and Tencent, which run Weibo and WeChat respectively, and asked them to take steps to curb the spread of lewd content.

Rather than taking the incident as a joke, every person should reflect on the role he played in the whole episode. The person who uploaded the video should receive legal punishment, and if it is found that the company is responsible for the video, it should be brought to justice.

Besides, those watching the video or forwarding it to others should be treated as accomplices, because with every click of the mouse to watch or forward it, they have caused more hurt to the woman.

We should not forget that in the Internet era, anyone can fall prey to such cyber intrusion. More than the law, it is people's conscience that can prevent such brouhaha over the issue.

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