Gaming expo in China bans booth babes

In a blow to entrenched thinking, the organizers of ChinaJoy 2012 decide they can no longer corrupt impressionable teen gamers.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
A scene from this year's CES. The picture was taken early in the morning. Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

A tech conference without booth babes is like Wimbledon without strawberries and snobbery. Or Chicago without bad baseball and corrupt politics.

Please imagine, then, how stunned at least some attendees at the ChinaJoy 2012 gaming expo in Shanghai this past week must have been to discover that they were assuredly in China, but had been deprived of their greatest joy.

Yes, the booths were not adorned by naked female flesh.

As the Register undresses it, organizers decided that they just couldn't go home at night knowing that they had corrupted even one more young mind with displays of female temptation.

Not only did they ban bikinis, but also backless clothing and other items of couture that cause some attendees to salivate.

Failure to observe this strict dress code apparently would result in birching by a leather-clad woman in long, black boots. No, wait. Actually, it would result in fines or suspensions.

You might imagine, given the content of some video games, that this was a stunt masquerading as a joke. Yet, the organizers were so serious that they apparently sent 40 camera-wielding spies to all corners of their expo to check that there wasn't any excessively naked exposition.

I am not sure how successful they were, given that Xinhuanet offered up "Pretty Showgirls" at ChinaJoy 2012.

Still, famous Chinese model Li Ling became a cause celebre, after her costume -- on behalf of Chinese gaming company Zqgame -- was deemed to be far too scanty -- or possibly missing pieces altogether.

RocketNews 24 noted that, after being red-carded, she posted this on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like site:

Today, after my first performance finished, I was told by the organizers to leave immediately and that I am forbidden from coming back tomorrow and the day after. It happened all so quickly and I don't know what to do now. I was just doing my job. Being a booth girl is hard: while it looks like we may be basking in the spotlight, we're really struggling. Keep going everyone, you have 2 days left...though I have to go home earlier than planned.

Many objective observers would surely conclude that the top half of her outfit barely held her in and that the bottom half of her outfit left less to the imagination that might have been respectable -- or legal in most countries. One imagines, though, that she didn't choose the outfit herself.

ChinaJoy is also the sort of gathering where some female attendees like to turn up in their own revealing costumes. They, too, were apparently escorted from the premises.

How oddly liberating it must be for those males -- and females -- who attend such events to be given the chance to concentrate on the gadgets and the games, rather than the decolletages and the dames.