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article imageChina says spreading sex tape against 'socialist values'

By AFP     Jul 16, 2015 in World

Chinese Communist authorities have said the distribution of a sex tape purportedly shot in a fitting room in one of Beijing's trendiest shopping malls is "against socialist core values", after the footage went viral.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said late Wednesday it summoned executives from the country's top social network service providers after censors took the clip down.

The footage shows a young couple -- a man in black and a naked woman -- apparently having sex in the changing room of a Uniqlo store in the capital.

The clip rapidly went viral on China's Twitter-like Weibo and mobile messaging service WeChat, with scores of people going to take selfies outside the outlet, some mimicking the poses seen in the footage.

The CAC ordered senior managers of Weibo's operator Sina and Tencent, owner of WeChat, to cooperate in an investigation, the agency said in a statement.

"The viral circulation of the obscene fitting room video on the Internet... has severely violated socialist core values," it cited an unnamed CAC official as saying.

The CAC also suggested that the incident could have been a publicity stunt.

"Highly concerned Web users have reprimanded the acts that are suspected vulgar marketing or event marketing... and have called for severe punishment," the official said.

Sina and Tencent must "further improve their social responsibility awareness", the official added.

China's Communist Party oversees a vast censorship system -- dubbed the Great Firewall -- that aggressively blocks sites or snuffs out content and commentary that is pornographic, violent or deemed politically sensitive.

Popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are inaccessible in the country, as is YouTube.

Several Western news organisations have accused Beijing of blocking access to their websites in the past, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Uniqlo "firmly" denied the video was a marketing ploy in a statement posted on its website and verified Weibo account.

"As a responsible international brand, Uniqlo... would like to ask consumers to abide by social ethics, maintain social justice and correctly and properly use the fitting spaces provided by Uniqlo stores," it said.

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