The organizers of China Joy said they will punish five or six modeling agencies for letting their models violate the annual gaming expo's dress code, a member of the event's organizing committee said Sunday.
The phenomenon of scantily dressed models has remained a stubborn problem for China's leading video game exhibition since it began in 2002, said Yu Kun, deputy secretary-general of the event's organizing committee. The problem has grown even more prevalent in recent years, pushing organizers to resort to regulating models' clothing to control the situation.
"Because adolescents make up our primary audience, we do not want to send them the wrong message," Yu told the Global Times.
About 400 game companies from both home and abroad came to Shanghai for the four-day event, which started July 25, according to the organizing committee. The number of visitors reached a record high of 170,000 this year.
This time, the committee instituted a stricter dress code for the models that companies hire to promote their products. Organizers banned bikinis and backless clothes and required that miniskirts and hot pants must not be worn below the hip. Underwear is also a must.
More than 20 agencies sanctioned to provide models for the expo signed contracts agreeing to follow the dress code. Otherwise they could be fined or banned from the event next year, according to organizers.
To enforce the new rules, organizers sent 30 to 40 staff members with cameras to search the expo floor for violators. Ye said they would punish any agency found flouting the rules if it didn't immediately correct itself. "We have more than nine confirmed cases from five or six agencies," he said.
Ye said organizers would fine the agencies a portion of the 150,000 yuan ($23,508) the latter paid as a kind of bond to work at the expo, though the exact amount of the fine hasn't been worked out.
One model surnamed Li, dressed as the goddess Athena - a character from one popular game - was kicked out of the expo for violating the rules. She was wearing a short white dress exposing ample cleavage and a hint of her black underwear. "It was my job to wear this," Li told the Global Times Sunday.
When she was thrown out, her agency told expo staff that she brought the outfit to the event herself, she said. She believes the agency used her as a scapegoat.
The model agency and zqgame.com, a Shenzhen-based company, were first ones to be punished. Neither could be reached by the Global Times Sunday.
On Saturday, another young woman was asked to leave after she showed up wearing nothing more than flesh-colored underwear and a tube top, according to the committee. She turned out to be a visitor, not a hired model.
"Some people just want to promote themselves at this event," Yu said.