An interview with Muzi Mei (aka muzimei, Mu Zimei), the young Chinese woman who shot to fame in 2003 after starting a blog filled with descriptions of her sex life.
"I think my private life is very interesting," said the columnist, Mu Zimei, arching an eyebrow and tapping a Marlboro Light into an ashtray. She added: "I do not oppose love, but I oppose loyalty.
Mu Zimei is both reviled and admired, but she is not ignored. The country's most popular internet site, Sina.com, credits her with attracting 10 million daily visitors.
Another site, Sohu.com, says Mu Zimei is the name most often typed into its internet search engine, surpassing one occasional runner-up, Mao Zedong.
Yet at a time when Sex and the City episodes are among the most popular DVDs in China, the Mu Zimei phenomenon is another example of the Government's struggle to keep a grip on social change in China. Her writings have prompted a raging debate about sex and women on the internet, where more people are writing blogs or arguing anonymously about a host of subjects in chat rooms and discussion pages.
But Mu's case is notable because her most controversial work appeared on the internet. Mu Zimei is the pen name of Li Li, who began working in 2001 as a feature writer at City Pictorial, a glossy magazine covering fashion and social trends.
Normally Sina.com attracts 20 million visitors a day. Company officials say that number immediately jumped to 30 million and stayed there for 10 days as Mu Zimei became a keyword on the home page.
"I despise Mu Zimei!" one critic countered. Another added, "This kind of diary will only serve as an excuse for more people who want to live a wild sexual life."
In 2003, for example, China had its first blogging sex scandal, which played out rather differently from its American counterpart. In July 2003, a Chinese sex columnist named Mu Zimei had the highest-ranked Web site in China once she started naming names on her personal blog. She described her liaisons with various men, including an undistinguished tryst outside a restaurant with a rock-star guitarist from Guangzhou.
The blog temporarily shut down because the Chinese service provider couldn't handle the millions of visitors, and a vigorous debate broke out in the blogosphere about whether Mu Zimei had violated the privacy of the men she identified. ''Mu Zimei has released the name of the men who has ever slept with,'' wrote a Shanghai blogger named Wangjianshuo. ''This is bad. I believe a blog can reveal whatever you want to show about yourself, but not others.''
In response to criticism from the blogosphere, Mu Zimei deleted the explicit discussions of her sexual encounters when Sina.com began to serialize her work in November