An anonymous English-language Weblog by a self-styled Shanghai-based expat,
bragging in explicit detail about multiple sexual relationships with local
women, has sparked a furious reaction.
A local professor was so outraged he called on all Internet users to help
track down the "immoral foreign scoundrel."
The angry response has spread through the Chinese-language virtual world and
spilled over into the more conventional domestic media.
The controversial "Sex and Shanghai" blog, hosted by the Website
blogspot.com, rocketed to public attention last Friday.
The writer of the diary, who used the online pseudonym "chinabounder,"
claimed to be a Briton teaching English in a local university.
The author chronicled sexual exploits among women, all of them Chinese and
some of them his students, and mixed it with a good dose of content denigrating
Chinese men and the Chinese government.
"This is an unacceptable insult to the Chinese people," said Dr Zhang Jiehai,
a professor at the Shanghai Social Sciences Academy who came across the blog and
issued a public letter on his own blog last Friday calling for a hunt for the
"We are going to find him, make him apologize for what he writes and quit the
job of teaching," Zhang said.
"We will use him as an example to tell women who blindly admire foreigners to
Zhang's call has received overwhelming support in the past few days.
His email box has been swamped by messages echoing his views and his personal
blog site has overflowed with posts showing anger and support.
Mainstream media have joined in the condemnation.
"The blog gives a bad name to Shanghai," Xinmin Evening News said.
But not all agreed the hunt is the way to go.
"It's normal for Chinese people to react strongly to an arrogant and
offensive foreign blogger but we should pursue a lawful solution," said Zhang
Youde, a sociologist with Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.
"To initiate a witchhunt is unrealistic and irrational."
Such hunts are not new in Chinese-language cyberspace.
Earlier this year, an angry husband posted sketchy personal information
online about a college student he said had an affair with his wife, leading to a
massive hunt for the "seducer."
The identity of the student, living in the northern Hebei Province, was
revealed and he and his family were harassed by hate mail and even life threats
even though he denied the husband's accusation.