This investment turned out to be as risky as it was risque.
A sex theme park that featured explicit exhibits of genitalia and sexual culture is being demolished before it can even open, a government spokesman in southwestern China said today.
The park, christened "Love Land" by its owners, went under the wrecking ball over the weekend in the city of Chongqing, said the spokesman, who like many Chinese bureaucrats would give only his surname, Yang.
Yang refused to give the reason for the demolition or other details. However, photographs of the adult-only park had circulated widely on the Internet over the weekend, prompting widespread mockery and condemnation.
Exhibits had included giant-sized reproductions of male and female anatomy, dissertations on how the topic of sex is treated in various cultures and what the official China Daily newspaper called "sex technique workshops."
The demolition highlights conflicted views on sex in modern China, where a prudish attitude toward discussion of sexuality is paired with an almost clinical approach to its physical aspects.
While pornography is banned and sex education largely unheard of, shops selling sex toys and related items stand out prominently in many neighborhoods and sex outside marriage is widely tolerated. Prostitution, while technically illegal, is widespread and the keeping of mistresses among prominent businessmen and Communist Party officials is considered commonplace.
Such attitudes are blamed in part for risky sex and ignorance about birth control among minors. With public discussion of sex so limited, there is relatively little awareness of sexual harassment and abuse and laws and regulations covering such matters are weaker in China than in many countries.
Newspapers last week carried prominent reports on a government official who was let off with a fine simply because he claimed he had not known that the 13-year-old girl he paid to have sex with was underage.
The man, Lu Yumin, a local tax bureau official in Sichuan province's Yibin county, was arrested on charges of child rape, but was convicted only of visiting a prostitute and fined 5,000 yuan ($730).