Scenes from an erotic film were accidentally broadcast on a large LED screen near a railway station in Jilin city last week, attracting hundreds of curious onlookers.
The film Xin Jin Ping Mei was broadcast for about 10 minutes on a large public screen on the roof of the Kaixuan building last Wednesday, less than 200 metres away from the Jilin Railway Station ticket office. According to Jilin Public Security Bureau reports, once local police were alerted to the situation, they arrived at the building only to find that the screen had been switched off.
Police confirmed that the screen was the property of Southern Advertising Company, which has offices in the Kaixuan building. The LED screen was usually connected to a computer and intended for video advertising. In mid-June, the screen malfunctioned, and Yuan Mou, a technician from Fujian Kewei Optical Company, was hired to carry out maintenance work, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
Jilin police took Yuan into custody for questioning on Friday. Yuan said he had lived in the Kaixuan building while carrying out maintenance work on the LED screen. On Wednesday evening, mistakenly believing the screen's computer to be disconnected, he began watching Xin Jin Ping Mei. He then received a phone call from Southern Advertising Company telling him that the film was being broadcast live to several hundred onlookers. Yuan promptly disconnected the computer and discarded the Xin Jin Ping Mei disc. Jilin authorities are still investigating the matter.
Xin Jin Ping Mei is a film version of a classic Ming dynasty novel, sometimes called The Plum in the Golden Vase in English. Known for its explicit sexual content, the novel has inspired many films over the years. Although there are conflicting reports as to which version Yuan was watching, most claim that it was a Hong Kong production, which indicates that a 2008 version with the English title The Forbidden Legend: Sex and Chopsticks may have been the culprit.
Chinese netizens chuckled at photos and news reports of the incident, which went viral on Sina Weibo on the day of Yuan’s confession. Some said Yuan was an uneducated “day labourer”, while more sympathetic posters felt that he was a “temporary worker stuck doing overtime” who probably just wanted some privacy. Others felt that movies like Xin Jin Ping Mei should be shown on LED screens more often.
“This is good advertising,” one poster said.