A sex doll named “Roxxxy” on display at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in 2010. Photo: AP

Damn! Just when someone has a great, not at all weird and disturbing idea, the man has to come in and crush it.

Per BBC, Chinese company Taqu (branded as Touch in English), which was launching a rental service for sex dolls, quickly folded just two days after announcing its launch on Thursday. Taqu was attempting to offer customers the chance to rent one of five different types of fully-functional silicone sex dolls for a daily fee of 298 yuan (£34; $46), but apparently attracted the wrong kind of attention from China’s authoritarian government after its pitch of sharing sex toys with hundreds of strangers went viral online.

In a statement on Chinese social network Weibo which was translated by Gizmodo, Taqu alluded to the upcoming Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress and officials’ disfavor its promotional campaign had a “negative impact on online discourse at a time of major meetings.” Here’s what the company said:

Regrettably, Touch is temporarily suspending the operation of project “Girlfriend Sharing” and taking the Touch App’s sharing feature offline.

Because our third-party marketing staff failed to comply with related regulations, certain promotion campaigns were suspended by regulatory agencies, considering the widespread controversy, we decided to stop the project.

Ever since the project began, we’ve used the slogan ‘Shared girlfriend—your heartwarming companionship.’ We hope to introduce expensive silicon sex dolls to the public, in order to provide love and companionship …. We sincerely apologize for the negative impact caused by the project, especially its negative impact on online discourse at a time of major meetings … In the future, Touch will continue to put corporate social responsibility as a priority while actively exploring healthy and harmonious sexual lifestyle. Sex itself is not vulgar. Making more Chinese people experience the pleasure of sex is still the goal we strive for.

It’s hard to take issue with Taqu’s stated intention of promoting a healthier sexual culture in China, where sex often remains a sensitive subject after decades of official state opinion that liberal sexual attitudes are bourgeois. Having to suspend your business at the whims of high-ranking government officials is also not exactly fair.

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On the other hand, Taqu advertised providing customers with a sexual outlet that is “totally submissive and can meet the needs of the single home boy,” which let’s just say is yet more evidence there’s no accounting for taste. That’s not even getting into the incredibly brow-furrowing concept of sharing sex toys with innumerable anonymous other customers, whether or not the company cleaned and replaced the dolls’ “lower parts” as advertised.

However, per Motherboard, company spokesperson Zheng Ying said sells a number of other services, including “sex toys and condoms, and serves as a forum for 500,000 active users.”

Fusion’s Isabelle Niu contributed to this report.

[BBC]