“Red Lights Dim in China’s Sin City”
The New York Times, Mar. 7, 2014, p.A4
“China is undergoing the harshest anti-vice campaign the government has mounted in years, and the crackdown is taking a toll on the economy of Dongguan, a southern city of more than eight million people. It is a manufacturing center for the export business and a Mecca for migrant workers, but it is also the nation’s sin city. Now, the red-light industry here is blushing a deep pink. Nightclubs and massage parlors, whether in five-star hotels or shadowy alleys, have been shuttered. Taxi drivers who once thrived on commissions from brothels are grappling with shrinking wallets. Some landlords are having a hard time renting out apartments, as prostitutes leave town or decide not to return from Lunar New Year vacations. … So severe is the crackdown, and so large is the sex industry in Dongguan, that police officials in nearby Hong Kong have expressed worries about a potential flood of displaced prostitutes arriving there. The campaign appears to be the latest element in a broad push by President Xi Jinping, the chief of the Communist Party, to expunge the image of corruption associated with Chinese officials.”
Quickie analysis: It’s hard to see the crackdown as more than a cynical political move, rather than truly designed to improve people’s lives.