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Extra resources for Chinese Women and the Cyberspace (ICAS Publications Edited Volumes)
After her, there was another female university professor who wrote about her sexual encounters and was also dismissed by the university that employed her. Since then, such online diaries have been popularized and Shanghai women have started writing them, although including less lurid sexual stories. Chinese women are thus able to use the Internet as a social and sexual space to express their sexuality in a public forum – something that has been denied to them in more conventional forms. 5 per cent considered their cyber-friends to be close friends, while another 30 per cent considered them as friends.
Online chatting has become an important part of the cyber-self. 5 per cent chatted once every 2-3 days. 5 per cent chatted on a daily basis and another 22 per cent chatted 3-4 times a week. The remainder chatted occasionally, some once every few days and others once a week. The popularity of online chatting is also reflected in the length of time to which the netizens chatted. 6 per cent chatted for more than 3 hours each session. 8 per cent are from 26-35 years old. 3 per cent chatted for over 3 hours.
While many simply meet, chat and socialize online, there is a growing number of women who engage in more explicit romantic and sexual activities online, INTERNET AS SOCIAL CAPITAL AND SOCIAL NETWORK 39 such as cyber-sex. Indeed, some Mainland Chinese argued that cybersex is preferable to real sex with physical contact for men and women who are unmarried. One key argument is that cyber-sex is ‘clean and disease-free’ and they favour cyber-sex over pre-marital sex. In Mainland China, the Internet is also regarded as a liberating space for women where they can express their sexuality.