A spate of videos of pregnant Chinese teenagers discussing their lives on a live streaming app has aroused debate and concern in Chinese society. Videos of these teenage girls, one of them in school uniform and another who is reported to be just 14 years old, has agitated commentators.
Most Chinese live streaming applications have strict and extensive guidelines about the content of the posts, ensuring that users do not post content that is subversive to society. Therefore, such apps usually contain videos of young people talking about their passions and hobbies.
However, Kuaishou, the app in question, has said that its users had drawn attention to some 40 videos on the site showing pregnant underage girls. Many of them have been removed after that. “The legal marriage age in our country is 20 years,” said a spokesperson from the app. “The law does not encourage pregnancies under the age of 18, and we are upset with this 14-year-old girl’s behaviour. ” Kuaishou has requested its users to be vigilant and report any other video of girls claiming to be underage. However, some reports say that there are still some of these illegitimate videos floating on the app.
The incident has sparked concern and agitation among China’s online community. Thousands of bloggers have voiced their anger and disappointment. Some say that the partners of the pregnant girls “should be arrested”. There are others who are criticising Kuaishou for allowing such videos to be broadcast while some others say society is to blame for “not teaching the girls self-respect”. “Modern society has clearly taken a beating as there are now vulgar videos to be found everywhere.” Some were sympathetic, saying, “These are children, how can they do this?”
The incident comes amidst months of online debate over whether China is doing enough to ensure that young people receive sufficient sexual education. The country has long been considered sex-shy, meaning that discussion about sex among minors is still largely regarded as taboo.
Children are not taught about sex by either their parents or teachers, and there have also been reports of sex education videos being blocked by online censors, as they are deemed “vulgar” by the Chinese authorities.
Government mouthpiece, People’s Daily began encouraging parents to have conversations with their children in August, and shared pictures online of a number of sex education books. While many think that teenagers are “too young” to learn about sex, others lauded the paper’s move.