Good riddance to car-show rubbish

Updated: 2015-04-17 12:14

By Li Yang in Beijing(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

For the first time, scantily clad car models will not be present at the April 22 to 29 Shanghai Auto Expo while child visitors will be restricted for safety reasons.

The first measure is to be applauded; the second deserves greater scrutiny.

The organizer has confirmed that "normal commercial performances" will not be affected by the ban.

Half-naked models have been a staple at auto expos in China in recent years, a trend that reflects a dereliction of duty on the part of the supervising authorities, who are duty-bound to make sure organizers abide by the relevant laws.

Hopefully, the upcoming Shanghai Auto Expo can set a good example by fostering a healthy exhibition culture at public events.

China has overtaken the United States as the world's largest auto manufacturer and purchaser since 2009. Last year, China produced 23.73 million automobiles, up 7.3 percent year-on-year. Overall, vehicle sales in China hit 23.50 million, up 6.9 percent.

The country's leading auto expo, which rotates among hosts Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, directly reflects the characteristics of China's auto industry, culture and market.

Although China now ranks as the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of cars, it still has a long way to go before it catches up with advanced countries like the United States, Germany and Japan.

As is usually the case, this month's expo will serve as an important platform for the domestic auto industry to learn from those who are more advanced in terms of technology, marketing and management.

Car dealers and manufacturers should focus on the real values of the expo and think of more sensible marketing strategies rather than simply resorting to borderline pornographic performances. These distract viewers' attention from their cars and can even negatively affect how their brands are viewed.

However, banning children from the expo is more controversial, especially as this is the first time a major auto expo anywhere has refused to admit kids.

Many attribute the ban to fears stemming from the stampede on Shanghai's Bund riverfront on Dec 31 that claimed 36 lives. It has made local authorities extremely jittery when it comes to organizing large-scale public events. The city government canceled several traditional activities over the Spring Festival to better safeguard public security.

Nearly 1 million people are expected to visit the weeklong auto show this month, but even such high numbers do not justify the decision to rob kids of the chance to attend.

After all, children have guardians to take care of them. What the organizer needs to do is create an orderly and safe environment for all visitors and provide the necessary assistance for the physically challenged.

Presumably, few auto dealers and manufacturers will appreciate losing the opportunity to win over a future generation of consumers, car mechanics, designers and dealers.

Dozens of new-energy cars and concept vehicles will appear in the show, and such exposure could be of untold benefit to children as China increasingly moves to adopt environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies.

Children are also important family members. If the breadwinner considers buying one of the models exhibited at the expo, they would surely be interested to know how other family members feel about it.

With the lewdness removed from the expo, now is the right time for children to be encouraged to go and learn something from it.