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Streak Strikes Out

A Chinese company has seen its plans for a mass Christmas Eve "nude run" muffled by local authorities in the central Chinese provincial capital of Zhengzhou, according to Reuters. The event, promoted on local radio, was supposedly intended to protest "excessive packaging" in the industry and support the government's call for a more "sustainable society," but the Mao suits didn't buy it. To them, it sounded suspiciously like an old fashioned capitalist publicity stunt and they wanted none of it.

The company's radio ads called for "auspicious" (that's the translation given by the People's Daily and we're sticking with it) men and women under 30 to participate. We don't know exactly what "auspicious" means in this context, but we're pretty sure the aging, paunchy guys populating the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee wouldn't qualify (can someone be "inauspicious"?).

Anyway, more than 1,700 people applied in only four days, indicating either a healthy commitment to sustainability in Chinese society or a serious case of early spring fever. Of course, the promise of 10,000 yuan (about $1,280) in cash and prizes to each of the 284 persons who would be picked to participate probably helped too.

The company holding the event, the Jixiang Ruyi Tobacco & Alcohol Co. (one thing the Chinese have all over Western companies is truth in corporate naming), was quite methodical in sorting through the candidates. In fact, it was downright Maoist in its adherence to the principle that all important decisions, even the judgement of physical beauty—okay, "auspiciousness"—are best decided by committee.

"We have already invited experts from the beauty industry to conduct physical checks on the applicants," the company proudly told China Central Television. "Their mental condition must also be sound." (or at least sound enough to want to run around naked outside of December).

Fortunately, the authorities refused to issue a permit for the event. Why "fortunately"? Because, of those 1,700 aspirants, only about 30 qualified.

Not even a bare minimum...

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