SHANGHAI - Some might call it an auction to die for, as the Chinese observe
their traditional Qing Ming festival honouring the dead.
A man in his late 20s in Jiaxing, a city near Shanghai, has attempted to sell
his soul on Taobao, China's top online auction site, attracting bids from some
58 soul-searching buyers before the posting was pulled.
"We reviewed Taobao's policies and realised we had no specific policy on the
selling of souls," said Porter Erisman, spokesman for Taobao's parent,
Yahoo-backed Alibaba.com. "After reviewing our policies, the posting was taken
down last Friday."
Erisman said Taobao wasn't opposed to the idea of soul selling online, but
wanted more proof that the seller could provide the goods.
"After some discussion, we decided that we will allow the member to sell his
soul on Taobao, but only if he can provide written permission from a 'higher
authority'," he said.
Taobao made its decision as Chinese around the world on Wednesday observed
Qing Ming, a traditional holiday where many travel to their ancestors' graves to
clean them and offer gifts to the spirits.
Taobao is no stranger to odd items being put up for auction, with past sale
items including advertising space on one member's forehead.
The firm's chief rival, eBay, has also hosted its share of strange items for
auction, including a second-hand Volkswagen once owned by Pope Benedict and a
mangrove island in Florida.