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December 7, 2018

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Don’t mess with Young Pioneers!

Red scarves around children’s necks are a ubiquitous sight on streets all over the country. The scarf symbolizes a corner of the national flag and is emblematic of blood of revolutionary martyrs.

A company in the Pudong New Area has been fined 1 million yuan (US$145,000) under the Advertising Law for tying a red scarf around the neck of a Japanese porn star.

Shanghai Zhenhai, which sells aphrodisiacs, hosted an event at a school in Yunnan Province’s Dehong Prefecture in July. It invited Japanese AV star Sora Aoi to participate as an “education assistance program ambassador.” She wore a red scarf at the event, according to the Pudong New Area Market Supervision and Management Bureau.

The company posted photos online with advertising information attached. The photos were widely distributed on the Internet, triggering a widespread misunderstanding that an AV actress had somehow been appointed as an instructor of the Young Pioneers.

Young Pioneers are children between the ages of 6 and 14.

Most elementary school students are Young Pioneers. On reaching the age of 14, they exit the Young Pioneers and may join the Communist Youth League. Young Pioneers are often referred to simply as “Red Scarves.”

In August, the National Work Committee of the Young Pioneers of China made a public statement, stressing the significance of the symbolism of red scarf and suggesting that the company had breached the law on protection of martyrs.

The committee said the act had smeared the image of the Young Pioneers organization.

Shanghai Zhenhai made an apology on its Weibo account, but it was not seen as nearly enough.

The company was also fined in February for promoting the medical effects of a sterilization product in its online store.


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