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Where's the harm in nudism?
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By Wang Yan

The nude bathing camp in Hongya Forest of southwest China's Sichuan Province has reopened six years after closing. This time, the organizer has changed the eye-catching "nude" word in its name for a more low-profile one.

The news has generated a heated public debate.

Nudist camps are common in foreign countries, but to the Chinese, steeped in the long history of Confucianism (highlighting propriety, righteousness, honesty and a sense of shame), it is natural for some people to feel concern. But can we see this event from another angle? Are all nude activities pornographic? Will nudist camps lead to a corruption of public morals?

I don't think so.

I'm not a nudist, but I think it is fair and reasonable to grant a group of people the right to take off their clothes in a relatively closed space, whether they do it to relax, to get closer to nature, or simply for fun. Moreover, men and women are in two separate areas – whatever they do is irrelevant to the fundamentals of public decency.

Nudists are not doing anything wrong – it's other people who are creating the problem.

The human body possesses the pure, original beauty of nature. In the eyes of environment protectionists, nudity is the bridge between human beings and nature; in the eyes of the aesthetics, nudity is a behavioral art… As a matter of fact, in foreign countries, you can find much promotion of nude art in the name of environmental protection.

Of course, nudist camps have yet to win social acceptance and public understanding in China, but this should not be the reason for us to see the activity as an immoral thing. In a world of diversified values, nudity is also a right for a particular group of people, and it merits public leniency and acceptance. You have the right to dislike nudity, but other people also have the right to be nude. Only when we stop behaving like guardians of public morality can we enjoy the pure beauty of human body.

(China.org.cn translated by Chen Xia, June 10, 2009)

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