A woman from Jiangsu Province in eastern China has been accused of photographing herself in a kimono, and police interrogated her. On social media, the controversy ignited, with some criticizing the excessive patriotism of the Chinese police.
On August 10th, a young woman dressed in a white kimono with red flowers and green leaves was waiting in line for snacks in a downtown area popular for Japanese restaurants and bars when police suddenly surrounded her and the photographer that was accompanying her.
On August 14, the woman told her story on Weibo, China’s most popular social network. The corresponding hashtag was used over 90 million times before being censored on August 15. According to her testimony, the woman was dressed in a kimono and had long blonde hair, just like the main character from the Japanese anime and manga Summertime Rendering, and the police were bothered by her appearance.
Wearing kimonos in public has become controversial in China recently, as patriotism and anti-Japanese sentiment have grown. Japanese culture, which was once popular among young Chinese, is under increasing pressure.
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In a video allegedly of an exchange with the police posted on Weibo, the woman explains that she is taking pictures, to which the officer replies, “If you were wearing a Chinese kimono, I wouldn’t be telling you this. But you are Chinese and you wear that kimono. You’re Chinese. Aren’t you?”. Hanfu Chinese clothing, traditional to the Han people, has become increasingly popular in recent years under President Xi Jinping, who promotes traditional culture.
When the woman calmly inquires as to why they are yelling at her, the officer informs her that she is “suspected of picking fights and causing a disturbance,” and several officers seize her and take her away. The video concludes with a frantic scene. As of June 15, the video had been viewed over 8 million times.
According to her Weibo post, the woman was questioned at the police station for about five hours, until 1 a.m., when her smartphone was searched, her photos were deleted, and her outfit was confiscated. She also claimed that the police “educated” her and warned her not to publicize the incident.
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 cops told me that to write that what she did was wrong. I’m feeling helpless. I enjoy Japanese, European, and traditional Chinese cultures. I enjoy multiculturalism and enjoy watching anime. Is it wrong to enjoy something?” She wondered. “It appears to me that I do not have the freedom to wear or say whatever I want,” she added.
Source: Livedoor News