A Tale of Many Newspapers: Perversion, Criminality, and Scopophilia in the Edison Chen Scandal

  • Marco Wan
  • Janny Leung


This chapter examines the reportage on the Edison Chen sex photo scandal in Hong Kong. Chen, a popular actor and singer, took pictures of himself and his various sexual partners, and the pictures were leaked onto the internet in late 2007 and early 2008. The incident received widespread coverage in the local media. This article examines the construction of Chen’s identities as sexual deviant and criminal in the journalistic discourse of this period. It also argues that this discourse tapped into local readers’ scopophilia and epistemophilia in its presentation of the event. It concludes by using the Chen case to highlight the need for cultural-legal scholars to scrutinise media representations of issues relating to sexual identity and behaviour.


Medical Discourse Educational Discourse Sexual Deviancy Private Residence Reader Interest 
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This research project was made possible by a small project grant from the University of Hong Kong. A version of this chapter was first presented at the Eighth Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law at the City University of Hong Kong, and the authors would like to thank the participants for their comments and questions. They would also like to thank Jason Tse Siu Kei for his excellent research assistance. The authors are grateful to Gina Marchetti for her insights into celebrity culture in Hong Kong and to the students in the course on ‘Law and Film’ at the University of Hong Kong in 2009 for their lively discussion of the Chen scandal. All translations are our own unless otherwise indicated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong, China

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