End of the road for racy models at Chinese autoshow?

Fri Jan 9, 2015 7:22am EST
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Female models in tight dresses and miniskirts may be banned from one of Asia's premier car exhibitions in Shanghai this year.

The Chinese government is concerned about what it sees as increasing vulgarity in society. A crackdown on pornography and freedom of expression more generally has intensified since President Xi Jinping assumed office in 2013.

Victor Yang, spokesman of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, told Reuters on Friday that the company has received verbal notice from the Shanghai autoshow organizer that no models can be used at the week-long event, from April 20.

An official at the Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai, one of the main organisers of the show, said such a restriction was "under discussion" and a decision would be published soon. He did not elaborate.

Auto promoters in China, as in many other places, often employ models to jazz up their stands. The models often seem to get more attention than the cars, especially from shutterbugs in the crowd.

Government censors faced a backlash from Chinese Internet users this month when a television drama about a Chinese empress was scrubbed of all footage showing actresses' cleavage.

Major web portals have also been under pressure to rein in what the government considers "harmful" content.

While the news, circulated on microblogs, triggered some criticism, Yang said it would be a positive move for car makers.

"An autoshow is an industry event to showcase cars, not beautiful models," he said.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Michael Martina in BEIJING; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Robert Birsel)

A model sits in a Haval E concept car from China's Great Wall Auto at Auto China 2012 in Beijing April 23, 2012.  REUTERS/Jason Lee