Apology Keeps Hong Kong Sex Scandal Buzzing
New America Media, News Report, Jun Wang Posted: Feb 26, 2008
Editor’s Note: The Chinese media has sex on its mind these days even though hip-hop star Eddie Chen, of the 1,300 sex photos fame, has apologized and left Hong Kong. NAM writer Jun Wang monitors Chinese media.
Hong Kong movie star Edison Chen disappeared for 26 days while hundreds of his sex photos with dozens of female starlets found their way onto the Internet. Last Thursday, Chen returned to Hong Kong and apologized in a press conference, implying he will move to Hollywood for a career change, leaving more questions than answers for the whole Chinese-speaking world.
The Canadian born star -- a 27-year-old actor, hip-hop artist, Pepsi spokesperson and "newcomer" in People magazine's 2006 Sexiest Man Alive issue -- admitted he shot the sex photos and apologized in English to the “ladies in the photos, their families,” his own parents and everyone else in his seven-minute talk, simultaneously translated into Mandarin.
Chen said, “These photos are very private… stolen from me illegally.” He acknowledged that “the whole society have been affected” and “want to say sorry to all the people of Hong Kong.” “I know young people look up to many figures in our society… This is not an example to be set for you,” Chen said during the press conference.
The 23 female starlets involved in the sex photo scandal and Chen’s current girlfriend’s father watched his talk airing on TV, but few of them have comments so far.
The Sun, a Chinese language newspaper based in Hong Kong, reported Chen has been cooperating with the police to quench the wild-spread scandal while more sex photos are being distributed onto the Internet. According to the South Capital Weekly, people in the Hong Kong entertainment industry said anonymously that Chen had privately showed off relationships with many female starlets and let them see the photos. They disclosed that besides female starlets, Chen also had many sexual relationships with Hong Kong leading business figures’ wives and daughters and also shot some sexually explicit photos with them.
As part of his apology, Edison Chen promised to his mother that he would never take any sex photos again, reported the China News Net. Chen’s mother told the media that he said, “Sorry, I disappointed you,” as the very first words to her when returning to Vancouver from Hong Kong.
After watching his apology on TV, Chen’s mother said she is the one who should say sorry, because she failed to be a good mother and didn’t give Chen a normal family environment when he was young. Chen’s mother said she didn’t discuss with her son as to why he took the photos in the first place because Chen has been depressed since coming home.
Chen’s father joined his ex-wife hand-in-hand pleading for forgiveness for their son. Chen’s affluent father has been reported by Hong Kong newspapers as having many gay relationships with male stars from Hong Kong and mainland China.
Chen had been attending the R.C. Palmer Secondary School in Vancouver and dropped out in 11th grade, reported Wenxuecity.com. He and Nicholas Tse, husband of a sex photo scandal starlet Cecilia Cheung, were schoolmates in Canada. They both dropped out from high school.
Although the sex photo scandal shocked Hong Kong, the police have been searching for people who distributed the sex photos onto the Internet to no avail. The South Capital Weekly reported that big entertainment companies and gangs are behind the launch of the sex photos flood. They alleged that they still hold the most destructive weapons – Chen’s sex photos with Hong Kong leading figures’ wives and daughters and are about to release them.
To keep himself safe, Chen hired former U.S. Marine Corps soldiers as bodyguards while in Hong Kong, according to the Oriental Daily. After Chen’s public apology, more than 300 Hong Kong policemen escorted him back to his hotel.
Chen promised to quit the Hong Kong entertainment industry at the conference. Jianyue Lin, Chen’s boss and president of Pan Asian Entertainment Group, expected Chen to move his career to Mainland China, and said he’d helped him get in touch with Hollywood companies, the Hong Kong Wen Hui Newspaper reported.
Hong Kong TV star Nancy Xue disclosed to the media that Chen had signed a working contact with a major American entertainment company and will start shooting a film in Hollywood in the middle of the year. She said she believes Chen will have a prosperous career in the United States.
Chen’s sex photo scandal shocked Hong Kong and China, leaving many to wonder about control of porn as well as how to keep moral standards in the modern Chinese society. In one discussion thread of the bulletin board Tianya, a discussion thread called “Edison Chen and Gillian Chung’s Bedroom Photos! Is it true or not?” has been viewed over 30 million times with hundred of thousands of posts. Photos are being shared by various means, and the flow is unstoppable.
Chen’s friend, female starlet Josie Ho expressed that Hong Kong’s behindhand moral standard and culture, instead of sex photos themselves, made the scandal more scandalous. She expressed, “ I support him… People don’t need to make a fuss of it (the scandal).”
But Stanley Ho, Josie Ho’s father and an entrepreneur known as “the king of gambling” in Hong Kong and Macau labeled Chen trash and cheap from a traditional Chinese perspective.
Meanwhile, the scandal becomes an educational opportunity at schools in Hong Kong and Mainland China. The Chongqing Times based in the inland city of Chongqing reported over 50 percent of students said they know the sex photos scandal from the Internet. Teachers hold formal discussion sections among students teaching girls to protect themselves and boys to be responsible and not hurt others and themselves.
Zhongru Ren, principal of the 49th middle school in the city of Chendu sees in the scandal a lesson for young people, according to the Tianfu Morning News. Ren said that although they live in an opening-up society with more room for privacy, people still need to take responsibility for what they have done.
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