Thursday, December 21, 2006

China Stops Nude Run

A drinks distributor in a Chinese city wanted to promote his business by staging a mass nude run on the day before Christmas, but local authorities turned down his plans, saying they didn't comply with the 'national character.'
There are actually grave doubts about how naked the run was really going be, and about whether the business didn't achieve its plans to get some free promotion even with the ban.
The happening in Zhengzhou in the province of Henan was going to see 284 men and women run naked - or nearly so - for money across a square and through a pedestrian shopping street this Sunday, Christmas Eve. The theme for the run was a protest against excessive packaging, an environmental plague well known to people living in East Asia. The organizer says he had attracted 1,500 men and almost 200 women to register for the event.
But that's when the authorities stepped in, claiming the activity was neither spiritually nor culturally uplifting, and refusing to give the organizer a license. Lawyers say China has no law expressly banning nude running, but the government can call on other laws pertaining to keeping public order and protecting public morals.
In the end, we'll never know whether the organizer really wanted a nude run, and whether those 1,700 or so citizens of Zhengzhou really wanted to brave the Chinese winter cold to make a bold stance for public nudity.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Nude on Campus

An artist known for her nude theater was allowed to perform at a university in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city, the Taiwanese press reported Tuesday.
Juan Jen-chu's day job is selling meat at a local market, but in the evening she turns into a nude performance artist, the United Daily News wrote. At the university, students from the Chinese theater, fine arts and music departments attended a play at which they were handed torchlights to light up the stage. To their surprise, they found a naked man and a naked woman - Juan. The 30-minute play expressed the impossibility of people to become truly independent.
Juan joined a theater troupe more than a decade ago, and later discovered the joys of acting naked. Since then she lost her husband and her friends, and her son is afraid of acknowledging she's his mother. Luckily, the reaction from the public was more generous, the paper wrote. Students said she was quite impressive, and knowing it was a play didn't make you question whether the performers were wearing clothes or not.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Naturist European Politician

One of Europe's most influential politicians, German member of the European Commission Guenter Verheugen, is a naturist.
In itself not a lot of news, because those of you who know Germany also know that naturism is very popular there, and that a high degree of the population practices it. But the news of Verheugen's naturism made frontpages in his home country because he was caught on photo sunbathing and swimming naked with his chief of staff, a woman 14 years his junior.
Verheugen and the woman were photographed on a beach in the Baltic state of Lithuania of all places, him just wearing a baseball cap. The picture got into the hands of a prominent German magazine and there, you have all the makings of a first-rate scandal.
So far, most of the scandal seems to be focusing on the relationship between the politician and his female employee, as should be the case. Relaxing on a naturist beach is not a crime, not an infraction of any rule, and is and should be completely acceptable among friends. The naturist element only serves to spice up the story from the magazine's point of view. Let's hope it stays that way. You would expect a society to be mature enough not to punish its leaders for practicing something as innocent and beneficial as naturism.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mountain Naturism and Naturism at 90 (2)

Well, both previous postings have received a common sequel in the shape of an article on page 9 of today's United Daily News, one of Taiwan's major Chinese-language newspapers.
90-year-old photographer Mr. Chang Hsiu-chih from Kaohsiung did realize his dream of going naturist in Taiwan, and he did it at a hostel high in the mountains of central Taiwan.
A businessman from the construction sector was the person who arranged everything. He invited a group of 14 over to the mountains for a naturist activity. The group included business people, an electricity designer, a couple of physicians, performance artist Ruan Jen-chu and a student, the paper says. Two thirds of the participants were newcomers to naturism.
The construction guy took part in a trip to Vancouver's Wreck Beach which I already reported on in this blog, and he spoke about his experience at a Rotary Club activity.
Mr. Chang, the photographer, was among the audience and signed up with the construction manager for the mountain activity, where he was surprised to see many female participants and young people as well as old ones.
As I wrote in one of my previous postings, next time I hope to be part of the group. It should give me extra material to write about in my planned book, even though I hope to have it out by next summer.

Monday, December 04, 2006


It's officially winter now in Taiwan.
How do I know? Because, the past weekend, for the first time this year since spring, it has been too cold to sleep naked. For the past eight months or so, I've been sleeping in the nude, one of the few naturist activities - if you can find anything active about sleeping - I've been pursuing. But all that is over now. Over the past week, as temperatures fell, I've been making do with closing the windows. But last Friday night, even that was not enough. I had to pull out the old pyjamas from my closet. At least, I succeeded in finding them. It would be much harder for me to locate my swimming trunks, because I haven't worn those in ages.
So how about winter and naturism? Many outsiders believe that naturists want to be nude no matter what. We do want to be nude always when we can, but the world isn't perfect. That's why even naturists wear clothes when it gets too cold. We want to live free, but we also want to live healthy, and sometimes that means getting protection against the elements.
There's one piece of good news: Taiwanese winters don't last long, and seem to alternate between several days of temperatures somewhere between 5 and 15 degrees, followed by a batch of sunny days where the thermometer hits 20 to 28 degrees. Taiwan's weathermen have promised us a soft winter, so that means more of the latter. And that's good news for naturists!