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China reprimands online companies for spread of sex video

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A Chinese couple took a selfie Thursday outside the Uniqlo flagship store where a steamy video purportedly taken inside one of its fitting room showing a couple apparently having sex in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING » Sex may sell, but a steamy video purportedly taken inside a Uniqlo fitting room in Beijing is giving the clothing retailer some uncomfortable attention.

Online searches for the Japanese clothing brand soared this week after the viral spread of the video apparently showing a young couple having sex in the Chinese capital’s flagship store.

But the video also has drawn the concern of police and China’s highest web regulator who are investigating whether it was a vulgar marketing gimmick.

The 71-second video shows a man filming himself with a woman in front of a mirror. A Uniqlo store announcement can be heard clearly in the background welcoming customers and advising them that fitting rooms are on the second and third floors while cashiers are on the first.

Uniqlo has denied any involvement in the video. It also has urged shoppers to make proper use of its fitting rooms, which already have become a euphemism for make-out spots among China’s web users, who are urging other clothing retailers to enlarge their fitting rooms to attract new clientele.

The online carnival is abating, however, now that the Cyberspace Administration of China has chastised two of the country’s main Internet companies for allowing the video to go viral. It had been circulating mainly on Sina Corp.’s microblogging site and Tencent Holding Ltd.’s popular mobile message app. The agency summoned senior management of the two companies for face-to-face reprimands Wednesday, and by Thursday the video was difficult to find.

Beijing police also announced that it would investigate. Chinese law bans the manufacture of obscene material while cyber-rules ban its spread online.

Meanwhile, many Beijingers have been taking selfies with the store in the background.

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