Chinese entertainment city launches sex trade crackdown

 

  

Following the week-long Spring Festival holiday, the southern Chinese city of Dongguan,

a booming entertainment hub, launched a harsh crackdown on underground prostitution

on Sunday of February 9, 2014.  As of Monday morning, 12 entertainment venues involved in

prostitution and other sexual services had been closed and 67 people had been investigated

after China Central Television exposed the city’s Spring Festival sex trade on Sunday.  

Photos – Xinhua

 

 

 

Entertainment city

launches sex trade

crackdown

 

 

By Fu Qing, Ye Qian and Qiang Lijing

 

 

The southern Chinese city of Dongguan, a booming entertainment hub, launched a harsh crackdown on underground prostitution on Sunday of February 9 following the week-long Spring Festival holiday.

Dongguan, seated in the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province, is famous for its massive, lavish casino resorts, bath centers, and massage parlors, as well as its backstreet brothels.

China’s Ministry of Public Security and the provincial public security department on Sunday dispatched special teams to crack down on the city’s rampant illegal sex trade.

As of Monday morning, 12 entertainment venues involved in prostitution and other sexual services had been closed and 67 people had been investigated after China Central Television exposed the city’s Spring Festival sex trade on Sunday.

Local police stations are being investigated for dereliction of duty or failing to respond to informants’ reports of the sex trade in illegal entertainment sites.

The director of a local public security bureau and director of a police station were suspended pending investigation, according to the Dongguan municipal public security bureau.

The provincial public security department will launch a sweeping crackdown on pornography and gambling sites across Guangdong. Local police who provide protection to the sex trade industry will be severely punished, according to the provincial government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crackdown ordered

on prostitution’s

“protective umbrella”

 

By Wang Di

 

Authorities said on Monday that people who have provided protection to the sex trade in south China’s Dongguan will be severely punished after a state television expose on prostitution in the city.

The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement that there will be a crackdown on organizers, operators and the “protective umbrella” of the sex trade in the city, and that local police will be investigated for dereliction of duty.

The ministry has sent a steering group to supervise an ongoing high-profile campaign against the city’s rampant illegal sex trade, it added.

As of Monday morning, 12 entertainment venues involved in prostitution and other sexual services had been closed and 67 people had been investigated.

The director of a local public security bureau and the director of a police station have been suspended pending investigation, according to the Dongguan municipal public security bureau.

On Sunday, a China Central Television program revealed that a dozen hotels in Dongguan were offering sex services. In hidden-camera clips, a CCTV reporter twice called police to blow the whistle on prostitution in two hotels, but no officer showed up.

 

 


 

 

 

Special Zone  |  Graphic by Zhao Naiyu  

 

Pillar   |  Graphic by Zhu Huiqing

 

Allure  |  Graphic by Xie Zhengjun

 

 

 

 

Sex trade crackdown

reveals red China’s

blue headache

 

 

By Gui Tao, Qiang Lijing, Fu Qing and Ye Qian

 

A tough crackdown on the illegal but highly lucrative sex trade in China’s “capital of sex” has once again thrown a spotlight on this controversial issue.

Late on Sunday, more than 6,700 police officers swooped on saunas, hotels, massage parlors and karaoke bars suspected of harboring prostitutes in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center and a booming entertainment hub infamous for its rampant sex industry.

It came hours after a China Central Television (CCTV) program revealed that a dozen hotels in Dongguan were offering sex services. Video clips showed that the daring sex trade even included a parade of prostitutes wearing revealing clothes to demonstrate their bodies in front of prospective clients.

By Monday morning, 12 entertainment venues involved in prostitution and other sexual services had been closed and 67 people had been placed under investigation, according to the Dongguan municipal public security bureau.

The latest crackdown immediately prompted diverse reactions ranging from sympathies for the sex workers to support for the police in a country where prostitution has been outlawed over the past six decades.

 

PERSISTENT ISSUE

 

This is not the first time that Dongguan, a city with a population of over 8 million known for its lavish casinos and bath houses, as well as its back-street brothels, has been the subject of a police campaign designed to smash the sex trade.

Crackdowns like this have been seen at least three times in Dongguan over the past decade, said Dr. Ding Yu, a lecturer with the sociology department at Sun Yat-sen University. Ding has been studying the development of China’s sex industry and the lives of those it employs.

Many question whether entrenched sex businesses in the city can ever truly be stamped out thanks to a local “protective umbrella.”

“It is sometimes hard to decide whether pornographic activities are violating the law, so the police always have a major say in sex trade crackdowns,” Ding said, but stopped short of saying Dongguan police have been protecting sex businesses.

Footage shot by CCTV reporters with a hidden camera showed that hotel managers did not seem in the least bit worried about being found offering sex services. They told the reporter that no police officer would come. “Otherwise, we would have been out of business a long time ago,” one manager said.

Although no evidence has been provided, it is widely speculated by the public that local police offer protection for Dongguan’s rampant prostitution, a dynamic which could stimulate local consumption and bring job opportunities.

Media reports put the number of people working in the sex industry in Dongguan at 300,000 at least, although Xinhua has been unable to verify that number.

In the video clips, a CCTV reporter called police twice to blow the whistle on prostitution in two hotels, but no police showed up.

Officials in Dongguan have denied that the city’s prosperity is a result of its underground sex industry. In 2011, Lu Weiqi, vice head of the Dongguan municipal security bureau, told media that “the thriving hotel business in the city does not necessarily imply a prospering sex industry.”

As of Monday afternoon, eight police officers including the director of the police station which failed to immediately respond to the CCTV informants’ reports of illegal activities, have been suspended, the city’s municipal public security bureau said in a statement.

It also suggested the local industrial and commercial bureau revoke the licenses of the 12 entertainment venues exposed to be involved in selling sex.

The public security department of Guangdong Province, home to Dongguan, has promised a sweeping crackdown on pornography and gambling sites across the province.

Local police who provide protection to the sex industry will be severely punished, according to the Guangdong provincial government.

 

SYMPATHY

 

Prostitution has been outlawed in China since the Communist Party of China took power in 1949.

But a few Chinese activists and scholars believe that the world’s oldest profession should be legalized in the country, arguing that it would increase government tax revenue and better protect the vulnerable and currently “invisible” prostitutes from sexually transmitted diseases and violence.

While the topic remains by and large taboo out of morality concerns, the latest crackdown in Dongguan has prompted sharply divided opinions among the Chinese.

Some supported the campaign, saying it would make China more beautiful and civilized. But sympathies for Dongguan’s sex workers also poured in on the country’s Twitter-style microblogging service Sina Weibo, where “Dongguan sex trade crackdown” is among the most re-tweeted topics as of Monday afternoon.

“It is not those who sell their bodies that should be condemned,” said a user with the screen name “Sophie203.” “It is the parasites who make money by supporting the illegal business.”

Netizen “Chongshangwuqing” said he believed that the campaign will result in a more miserable life for sex workers, and predicted a slump in the city’s economy.

A large number of Weibo users are also criticizing CCTV for airing the program without blurring the sex workers’ faces, accusing it of violating the prostitutes’ rights.

“Some netizens equate freedom of sex to freedom of the sex market,” said Professor Lyu Xinyu with the Department of Journalism at Fudan University. “That’s why so many of them are sympathizing with the sex workers in Dongguan and supporting the legalization of prostitution.”

“But as long as there is a sex trade, prostitutes are always the victims,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW POST   updated on February 11, 2014

 

China’s entertainment

hub cleans up sex trade

 

 

By Wang Pan, Ye Qian, Fu Qing and Qiang Lijing

 

The campaign against the illegal sex trade in the booming southern entertainment city of Dongguan, Guangdong Province, will get tougher still, local police said on Tuesday of February 11.

Yan Xiaokang, director of Dongguan Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB), promised that three months of intense activity would clean up KTVs, massage parlors and hotels involved in prostitution.

Almost 2,000 entertainment venues have been raided since the campaign began on Sunday night. By Tuesday, 39 establishments had been closed and 162 people were under investigation.

Lu Weiqi, deputy PSB director, said the police frequently raided known prostitution venues. In 2013, 981 sex trade cases were pursued in Dongguan and 350 people detained, Lu said.

Li Chunsheng, provincial vice governor and head of Guangdong PSB, said the campaign is not just about Dongguan but will cover the whole province. Teams will make unannounced visits to hotels and entertainment venues such as saunas, hotels, massage parlors and karaoke lounges.

Prostitution has been outlawed in China since the Communist Party of China (CPC) took power in 1949.

The problem is not just in China, but, according to a Tuesday comment piece in the CPC flagship newspaper the People’s Daily, the international status of the sex trade makes the crackdown inevitable.

Ding Yu, sociology lecturer at Sun Yat-sen University, has studied the development of China’s sex industry and the lives of those it employs. She echoed the view, saying that the raids have stuck a blow against the sex trade in accordance with the law.

The sex trade can result in a string of problems, including the spread of HIV, said Ding, one reason why many countries oppose prostitution. According to her, prostitution was traditionally considered a moral crime in China.

The harshness of the crackdown on illegal and immoral activities has triggered some sympathy for Dongguan’s sex workers. Many aired their views online, claiming that sex workers are a vulnerable group whose privacy and rights should be respected. Some even attribute Dongguan’s flourishing sex trade to migrant workers’ sexual desire, inflamed by the process of urbanization.

Lu Weiqi describes a sex trade which involves a profit chain of hotel operators, contractors, managers, pimps and the sex workers themselves.

Limited police manpower has never succeeded in cleaning up the industry during past crackdowns, he said.

It is difficult for the police to collect evidence and identify the operators because of the so-called “protective umbrella” behind the scenes, according to Lu.

The information office of Dongguan has a hotline attached to its microblog for reporting illegal sexual services.

Anyone who provides protection to prostitution, including CPC cadres, government officials, and law enforcement officers will be severely punished, Li said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 NEW POST   updated on February 12, 2014 

 

 

920 suspects snared 

in China prostitution crackdown

 

By Fu Qing and Sun Xiaozheng

 

A total of 920 suspects had been apprehended as of Wednesday in a crackdown on the illegal sex trade in south China’s Guangdong Province, local authorities said.

Police have swooped 18,372 entertainment venues, including 3,592 karaoke bars and 4,201 saunas in the province. A total of 38 Karaoke bars and 156 saunas and massage parlors have been closed, said the provincial public security bureau.

The new crackdown came hours after a China Central Television (CCTV) program on Sunday of February 9 revealed that a dozen hotels in Dongguan City were offering sex services.

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTARY

 

China’s prostitution

crackdown needs

sweeping efforts

 

 

By Wang Jiaquan

 

 

Recent media exposure and the ensuing police crackdown on prostitution in south China’s Dongguan raised an uproar of support, ironically, for sex workers, not for the campaign.

It is an open secret that for years, Dongguan has been the “capital of sex” in China. Prostitution was outlawed in 1949 but has re-emerged since the reform drive of the 1980s.

While underground prostitution in other cities certainly exists, it is not the booming industry of Dongguan.

Widely rumored protection from local police is believed to be a major reason behind the industry, and the public is tolerant of the trade, as demonstrated by opposition to the Dongguan crackdown.

There have been calls that the ban on prostitution should be lifted.

The society is obviously facing more complicated challenges than six decades ago when the “social vice” was targeted in the 1950s, a few years after the founding of New China, to liberate”oppressed” women.

One concern is the local governments’ ambivalence to the sex trade, which, in the case of Dongguan, is believed to be a substantial contributor to the city’s economy and employment.

This partly explains how the sex trade remained safe in Dongguan, despite previous crackdowns.

To avoid a new round of the catch-and-release game, the current crackdown needs a heavy and decisive blow: a blow to business owners and operators, and the umbrellas above them.

However, a problem out of the heavy blow’s avail is the public’s attitude toward prostitution, especially that of young people who were born after 1980 and are major supporters of lifting the ban on prostitution.

Widespread sympathy toward sex workers in the Dongguan crackdown and calls for the legalization of prostitution in the cyber and social networking communities is an example of erosion of values by commercial waves.

The supporters believe that prostitution should be allowed as long as there are “market demands.”

Considering such complicated social backdrop, the mission against prostitution will not be accomplished in one action, but authorities have to show their resolve.

As some netizens put it, in the fight against sex trade, the government can win as long as it is determined to.

Sex industry is always referred to as “yellow” in the Chinese language. As the whole country seeks a green approach for sustainable development, “sweeping yellow,” or a crackdown on sex trade, seems to have become inevitable.

 

 

 

 

 

 NEW POST   updated on February 16, 2014

 

Police urge 

prostitution crackdown 

after Dongguan case

 

 

By Ren Ke

 

The Ministry of Public Security on Sunday of February 16 urged police nationwide to crack down on crimes involving prostitution, gambling and drugs, and suggested that major leaders of Dongguan City bear responsibility for the widespread sex trade.

The ministry urged all police staff to take Dongguan as a lesson and strengthen their campaign against prostitution, gambling and drugs to improve the people’s sense of security and satisfaction.

Following media exposure of widespread prostitution in Dongguan of Guangdong Province last week, police in recent days have waged a large-scale crackdown on the sex trade.

The ministry suggested Guangdong provincial authorities find those responsible, including leading officials of the Dongguan police department and other police staff.

Yan Xiaokang, vice mayor of Dongguan and head of the city’s Public Security Bureau, has already been sacked for dereliction of duty, the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said on Friday.

Following the exposure of the sex trade in Dongguan by China Central Television (CCTV) last week, the ministry said it attaches great importance to the issue and has called for swift, resolute measures to punish organizers and operators of the sex trade and has sent a panel to Guangdong for supervision.

 

 

 

 

 

 NEW POSOT   updated on February 19,2014

 

COMMENTARY

 

Prostitution crackdown

helps corruption fight

 

 

By Hu Longjiang and Wang Di

 

As China’s anti-graft war picks up momentum, a nationwide crackdown on the sex trade has become a key part of the nation’s efforts to root out entrenched corruption.

The campaign is targeted at uncovering the corruptive forces who have protected or connived with this underground industry that continues to run wild despite repeated attempts at containment.

Police were asked to focus on seizing organizers, operators and the “protective umbrella” of the sex trade and seriously punish police leaders and staff found to be guilty of involvement.

Officials’ acquiescence and police protection, the so-called “protective umbrella,” are widely believed to have allowed the industry to boom.

By Monday evening, police working on the prostitution crackdown had apprehended 501 suspects and busted 73 gangs nationwide. More than 1,300 cases of organizing or soliciting sex services have been opened and 2,410 venues shut down.

The clampdown quickly went national, following police raids on Feb. 9 in south China’s Dongguan just a few hours after media exposure.

In the Dongguan case, Yan Xiaokang, vice mayor of Dongguan and head of the city’s Public Security Bureau, was removed from his post for dereliction of duty last Friday. Local deputy police head Lu Weiqi and several other officials were also sacked.

In addition, a number of people affiliated to the government were exposed as engaged in the sex trade. State television reported that Liang Yaohui, a deputy to the national legislature, runs a five-star hotel involved in prostitution.

Prostitution is regarded as immoral in China and is bound to involve social corruption, organized crimes, abduction and trafficking of women, violence and gangs.

However, local governments are ambivalent toward the sex trade, which, in the case of Dongguan, is believed to be a substantial contributor to the city’s economy and employment.

Usually a hotbed for corruption has been bred as a consequence of this compromise by local government and consequent bribery and collusion by officials and businessmen.

Since China’s new leadership assumed office last year, the corruption fight has always remained one of its top tasks.

Addressing a disciplinary meeting in January, Chinese President Xi Jinping described corruption as “a disease that calls for powerful drugs.” He reiterated zero tolerance of graft and promised to seriously punish every corrupt official.

There has been some criticism of China’s sex trade crackdown. However, with the deepening of the campaign and the capture of more corrupt figures, such voices will surely weaken.

 

 

 

 

Share


Leave a Reply

*