| HONG KONG
HONG KONG Feb 10 Chinese authorities have
carried out a rare crackdown on the sex trade in the "sin city"
of Dongguan following a candid report by the state broadcaster
on the underground industry.
China outlawed prostitution after the Communist revolution
in 1949, but it returned with a vengeance following landmark
economic reforms three decades ago, and has helped fuel a rise
in HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
While the government carries out periodic crackdowns, it is
unusual for state media to cover them in such a high-profile way
or for top officials to comment on the problem, underscoring
worry about the explosion of the sex trade.
Media said 67 people were arrested and 12 venues were shut
down in a sting operation involving thousands of police in the
Dongguan region at the heart of China's Pearl River Delta
industrial hub in the southern province of Guangdong.
Provincial Communist party boss Hu Chunhua, stressed the
need "to conduct an extensive trawling-style crackdown on the
entire city", according to a report in the Nanfang Daily.
Two city police chiefs had been suspended, Hong Kong's South
China Morning Post reported.
China's main state broadcaster, China Central Television
(CCTV), aired a half-hour report on Sunday chronicling what
appeared to be extensive and open prostitution in five towns
Secretly shot footage showed scantily clad women parading
on a stage and managers of venues speaking openly about
The CCTV report was widely watched across China and followed
with interest and widely commented on on social media.
While periodic sweeps against vice have been carried out,
including during sensitive periods such as the 2008 Beijing
Olympics and 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, the industry has
thrived. Law enforcement often appears to be lax.
The Dongguan region has long been known as a hub for the sex
Authorities there said last month the city had seen a high
incidence of HIV/AIDS amid rumours that more than 2,700 sex
workers had been infected, according to the Global Times, a
Chinese tabloid owned by the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece,
the People's Daily.
(Additional reporting by Paul Carsten in Beijing; Editing by
Ben Blanchard and Robert Birsel)