The Rise of Generation W(eb)
HUMAN FLESH SEARCHES
On the evening of May 10, 2009, Deng Yujiao, an attractive 21-year-old waitress, greeted the three guests entering a private parlor at a bathhouse in Badong Xiongfeng Hotel just as she normally would any other evening. Badong is a township in Hubei Province, nestled in tree-lined mountains, an ancient callous on an elbow of the Yangtze River, deep in the interior of China. The bathhouse was not luxurious by the standards of similar Shanghai or Beijing venues, with their great marble facades and Romanesque statues surrounding the Jacuzzis, scrubbing tables, and lounges attended by smartly dressed service staff. Rather, the Xiongfeng Hotel bathhouse was much more modest in scale and offerings; it was enough, though, for the three government officials who had come for massages to feel like kings. Deng followed her customers into the private parlor to take their orders for drinks and snacks. The three men pressed Deng to offer them “special services” a code phrase in China for prostitution. Deng declined, saying that was not her job. Deng Guida (no relation to the waitress), the chief of the county investment promotion bureau, threw a wad of cash at her head. She ignored the provocation and tried to leave the room. The officials barred her exit. She tried to push past them, but they continued playing cat-and-mouse with ...