Last summer, the Wo Yi Dai hotpants hotties took to the streets in tight T-shirts and daisy dukes to encourage drivers to slow down.
Now concerned Chengdu women—whose legendary beauty has spawned numerous comparisons to the hot, spicy flavors Sichuan cuisine is known for—are taking their protest tactics to all-new states of undress.
On the afternoon of May 19, four university students from Chengdu gave a 15-minute "performance" near the Jialing Power Station outside the east section of the Second Ring Road.
Clad in nothing but bikinis and gas masks, they swept the streets with the straw brooms commonly seen in the hands of safety-vest-donning street cleaners.
The women, all at least an eye-catching 1.7 meters tall, said they were protesting three serious levels of air pollution emitted by the nearby Jialing Power Plant (嘉陵电厂). The gas masks were meant to represent the poor air quality; the flesh-revealing bikinis, the vulnerability of the human body; and the brooms signified sweeping Jialing Power Plant out of Chengdu.
The action, not surprisingly, successfully caught the attention of passersby.
From Sichuan TV:
"What are they doing?" murmured passersby, who were beginning to stop and crowd around for a closer look. Each woman, clutching a broom in her hand, swept the street with a blank expression on her face. Every now and then she would stop, turn around, swivel, and gaze into the crowd. After a few of these provocative poses, a few men in the audience expressed their approval: "Fantastic, it's just like watching the beauty pageants on TV."
The women didn't pay any attention to the crowd that had gathered around. One woman, who declined to give her name, said, "We're willing to suffer through this action, although it's controversial, in order to protect the tens of thousands of people who live in buildings near the Jialing Power Station."
The women, who are students of Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu University of Science and Engineering, and the Southwest University for Minority Nationalities, met online. The student of the Chengdu University of Science and Engineering was particularly concerned about the Jialing Power Station due to its proximity to her school. After brainstorming, they decided to stage the protest. "We couldn't think of any better way," they said.
The passersby who gathered around, most of whom are nearby residents, seemed to approve of the protest. A man who appeared to be in his 40s said, "These women have spoken for us, they've shown a lot of courage, which is not easy." Others said the protest has forged a path to begin communication on the topic.
There are at least five apartment communities near the Jialing Power Plant. The residents normally do not open their windows or hang their clothes outside to dry. When the power plant is generating electricity, they carry an umbrella if step outside. The Red Bridge (Hongqiao) Community is nearest to the power plant. A spokesperson for the apartment complex said that they plan to gather signatures from 7,000 residents to petition for the relocation of the Jialing Power Plant.
But not everybody was impressed. An online Sina poll showed approximately 70 percent of voters disapproved of the protest, saying it was just "showing off," while around 30 percent said it was "very creative."
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