Thousands of Chinese citizens have reacted angrily to the ongoing sordid saga of money, sex and blackmail after nude photos of more than 160 mostly young women were deliberately leaked online because they failed to clear their dues with predatory debtors.
Reports about the women submitting nude photos in exchange for loans via peer-to-peer online lending platforms have been making the rounds since June this year.
It was first picked up by the Southern Metropolis Daily after a Weibo whistleblower made the sleazy business deals public.
It’s only now that the murky picture of “naked loans” is becoming clearer with many of the young women involved turning out to be college students from smaller Chinese towns.
While some of the victims could have been coerced because of pressing financial needs, some might have willingly shared their photos and data to make easy money – to buy latest smartphones.
But the revelations, for one, have shown how difficult it is to regulate such deals between willing adults – and how it could possibly scar unwilling victims.
Till late on Wednesday, several online groups on popular chat platforms like QQ were still claiming to sell 10 GB of the nude photos for a mere 15 yuan (Rs 150); many of the photos showed the naked girls holding their identity cards, with personal details clearly visible.
“The lending conditions were not limited to nude pictures. Also leaked were a number of screenshots of supposed dialogues between the borrowers and lenders... Some of the leaked photos and videos can still be found on Chinese social media as of press time,” the English version of the People’s Daily, the Communist party’s mouthpiece, said in a report.
“One picture showed that a naked girl surnamed Ren put a receipt on her breast which read ‘I borrowed 6,000 yuan ($872) for one month from Wang Wei via Jiedaibao and the loan is due on October 22. The monthly interest is 400 yuan. If I cannot pay back timely, I will be solely responsible for it,’” reported the state controlled tabloid, Global Times.
“Another girl, Xiao Yu (an alias), also faces trouble after failing to pay back the money she got from shady lenders. With naked photos on hand, they are now “marketing” the 20-year-old girl to be someone’s mistress with a price tag of 7,000 yuan per month,” a report in the official website China.org said.
Reactions against the revelations have been angry but mixed – many users of Weibo, the Twitter of China, criticised the women for allowing this to happen.
“These girls are shameless,” said one user, while another said: “please do not use the word college girls for them.” Others said this kind of exploitation should be prevented.