As you may already know, pornography is illegal in China. In accordance with official criminal law, individuals or publishers who create, copy, publish, sell, and spread pornography can receive fines and jail time. But what about a Chinese couple watching pornography at home, in private? And what if both members of the couple are Party members?

Author Liu Fei generously answers this controversial question you’ve probably never asked on a public WeChat account called Anti-Corruption Pioneers (反腐先锋; link in Chinese):

Firstly, most officials working in Disciplinary Investigation believe that Party members should be very careful when exerting power over people’s private lives – this idea must be highly regarded.

Secondly, we should be aware that the Party’s discipline requires its members to maintain a higher moral standard than other citizens. Watching pornography alone at home might not conform to mainstream values, and could cause controversy.

Therefore, investigators would need to discover the source of the pornography (to purchase it is an active choice; to watch it is an intentional behavior). If Party members only buy pornography [but don’t watch it], then the behavior is not controversial.

When a couple watches pornography at home and does not disturb any neighbors or minors, it’s hard to judge. If they do so, then an explanation must necessarily be given — especially where and how they got it.

Jiangsu Police Spend 1 Month Watching 40,000 Confiscated Porn DVDs in “Investigation”

This seems harsh. One might assume that the number of people willing to take the risk to watch “yellow disks” (黄碟, huang die, a common slang term for porn) would be exceedingly small, right?

Not at all.

In fact, Chinese viewers (especially young men) make up a large portion of the market for pornography made in Japan, due in part to the lack of sexual education in China and the fact that sex is still viewed as a taboo in public society. Chinese people actually spent much more time watching porn than any other country in 2014 (link in Chinese). Japanese porn has been accumulating on adolescent Chinese boys’ hard drives for years, with the result that some Japanese porn stars have become famous in China, strangely but not surprisingly.

The most popular of all “Hard Drive Goddess” from Japan is Sola Aoi. She’s accrued more than 17.6 million followers on Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo since opening an account in 2010, making her a superstar in the competitive realm of Chinese social media. Chinese fans enthusiastically respond in droves to her cute selfies and warm words in Chinese — she even posts her own Chinese calligraphy from time to time.

Wish me a happy birthday, good night

After a terrible earthquake in Ya’an, Sichuan in 2013, she wrote, ”Hang in there, Sichuan; Be safe, Ya’an.” After a recent wave of protests and boycotts against Japan, she wrote, ”Chinese people and Japanese people are friends.” It seems that the more she gets involved with issues that affect Chinese society, the larger her following in both China and Japan becomes. In terms of engaging with her audience, she’s actually doing a better job than many other movie stars.

These days the majority of her Chinese internet fans call her 苍老师 — Sensei Sola — to show their love of her and her “selfless education” on the subject of sex. Unsurprisingly, she’s been showing up in more and more commercials, corporate events, and (non-X-rated) movies in China and Japan. She’s even starred in the web TV series Love Online, produced by Chinese streaming platform iQIYI, and in Second Dream, a short film by director Li Ying.

Sola doing calligraphy at a commercial event; Lei Jun, CEO of smartphone maker Xiaomi, is also on the stage

Naturally, there are also a bunch of “bad students” who leave disgusting comments under her Weibo posts. But there are even more fans to stand up for her, like the author of this lengthy defense on WeChat account 村一哥 (link in Chinese):

If you do not know Sola Aoi, I can only say that there must have not been network cable in your youth. I found lots of filthy words in the comments to her posts. How can you guys do this? She is a famous Japanese adult movie star. It’s just a job, and it has its history. They are human beings. They are kind-hearted. They never harm anyone, and many of them have even been doing good things for the public. Japanese society officially compliments them for their contribution to economic development and social stability. Please respect her — Sola Aoi.

It seems clear that actresses like Sensei Sola have made a similar contribution to Chinese society, and likewise deserve some respect here. As one Weibo user put it, “We all owe her a movie ticket.”

Cover photo: news.xiancn.com