In Suzhou, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, an anime fan complained that police took her in for questioning while taking photos in a kimono. The controversy sparked on social media, with some criticizing excessive patriotism. On August 10, a young woman dressed in a white kimono with red flowers and green leaves was queuing to buy a soft drink in the city center area.popular for its Japanese restaurants and bars, when she reported that she and her cameraman were suddenly surrounded by police.
The woman published the story as it happened on August 14 on Weibo, China’s main social network. The corresponding hashtag was referenced more than 90 million times, but was censored on August 15. According to her testimony, the woman was dressed in a kimono and had long blonde hair, imitating the main character of the Japanese manga. Summer renderingand the police were upset at his appearance.
Wearing a kimono in public has become somewhat controversial in China in recent years, as patriotism and anti-Japanese sentiment have increased. Fans of Japanese culture, once popular among young Chinese, are facing the repression.
In a video purporting to be an exchange with the police posted on Weibo, the woman explains that she is taking pictures, to which the officer responds, “If you were wearing a Chinese kimono, I wouldn’t tell you this. But you are Chinese and you wear that kimono. You are Chinese. Isn’t it like this?». Hanfu Chinese clothing, traditional to the Han people, has become more popular in recent years under the rule of the President Xi Jinpingwhich promotes traditional culture.
When the woman calmly asks why they are yelling at her, the officer replies that “suspected of picking fights and causing a riot“, and various agents grab the woman and take her away. The video ends with a chaotic scene. The video has been viewed more than 8 million times since the evening of June 15.
According to her post on Weibo, the woman was questioned at the police station for about five hours, until 1 am, when her smartphone was searched, her photos were deleted, and her clothes were confiscated. She also complained that the police “educated” her and warned her not to post the incident online.
In a post on another Chinese social network, QQ space, the woman admitted that she was forced to write a 500-character self-criticism. «The police told me that what I had done was wrong. I feel helpless. I like Japanese and European culture, and traditional Chinese culture as well. I like multiculturalism and I like watching anime. Is it wrong to like something?“, wrote. «I feel like I don’t have the freedom to wear what I want or say what I want.», he said.
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