A student from sixth grade adjusts a red scarf on a first grade student at Shanxi Experimental Primary School, Taiyuan, May 31. (Photo/Shanxi Daily)
A Shanghai-based company has been fined 1.3 million yuan ($188,800) for hiring Sola Aoi, a former Japanese adult video actress, to participate an activity in July where she was made to wear a red neckerchief usually worn by the young pioneers in China.
According to the market regulation administration of Shanghai's Pudong New Area, Shanghai Zhenhai Industrial Limited Co, a company that sells male sex products, was fined for its improper usage of the red scarf which is emblematic of blood of revolutionary martyrs.
The fine slapped on the company is the highest among similar incidents in China.
On July 29, Shanghai Zhenhai invited the Japanese actress to a benefit activity in Dehong prefecture, southwest China's Yunnan province, to raise money for impoverished schoolchildren. The actress wore a red scarf when taking part in the activity on Aug 1.
The incident quickly prompted an outcry among Chinese netizens that accused the company and actress defiling the sacredness of the red scarf.
On Aug 9, the company issued an apology statement on its official Sina Weibo account after the Young Pioneers National Working Commission denounced the company's behavior.
Distorting, vilifying, defaming or otherwise diminishing the deeds and spirit of heroes and martyrs is strictly prohibited, according to a new law in China regarding the protection of heroes and martyrs which took effect on May 1.
Founded in 1949 and led by the Communist Party of China, the Chinese Young Pioneers is a national organization for Chinese children aged 6 to 14, most of whom are primary or secondary school students.