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Bikini-clad child models in China trigger outrage

BEIJING -- A company that featured bikini-clad child models as young as 5 years old at a Chinese car show sought Wednesday to defuse the controversy but also defended its actions.

“We hope that (the controversy) will calm down as soon as possible, and we do not wish to keep discussing this,” said an employee of of 7-Wind Model Costume reached by AFP.

Many Chinese expressed outrage at the photos posted online that showed girls wearing high boots and swaying their hips in front of gleaming sedans at a car show last week in the central city of Wuhan.

“The morals of 30 years ago are gone, is this not the result when money is king?” said a user on the popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo. “This is the picture of moral decay.”

“What a disgrace, using little girls in bikinis to sell cars,” said another.

“If you type 'children' and 'bikini' into an Internet search engine, you will find tens of thousands of results of bikini contests for children,” the company director Zhang Ping was quoted in Chinese media as saying.

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