Bikini-clad child models at car show outrage netizens

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2012, 1:45pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2012, 2:58pm

A car show in Wuhan, which last Friday included five-year-old girls modelling bikinis, has sparked an angry public reaction in China, mainland newspapers reported on Friday.

Photographs of the bikini-clad children, posing like adults and circulated widely online, prompted thousands of angry comments. Some outraged netizens accused parents of the five-year-olds, and the show’s organisers, of exploitation of children and child pornography.

But parents and organisers of the event on Sunday defended the use of child models, Beijing Youth reported. Zhang Ping, a spokeswoman for the company which organised the modelling, said: “The information circulated online [about the child models] is very much distorted.”

She said the car show had been an opportunity for the children to participate in a modelling competition. Zhang said each child only modelled for five minutes and brought their own bikinis.

She said the children had not been paid for modelling and did not profit financially from the car show.

Zhang said she did not believe her company had done anything wrong. Although, she admitted the car show might have been an “inappropriate” place for child models.

”Our company is happy to apologise for any harm caused to parents or to the children,” she added.

Some parents said the massive online response to the incident had shocked them more than the modelling event itself.

One mother said: “I would rather die than see comments like that and photos of my child being re-posted thousands of times.”

She said her five-year-old daughter only participated in the modelling out of interest. “Audiences liked the show very much; they even came to be photographed with my daughter,” the woman added.

She told Beijing Youth that she had now taken her daughter away from Wuhan so she would not be recognised.

Lawyer Fan Bosong said netizens needed to be more responsible. He was concerned that photos of the girls had been circulated repeatedly without covering their faces. This brings even more harm to the parents and children,” he told Beijing Youth.