China’s nationwide crackdown on prostitution was well documented last year. Journalists and photographers were conveniently nearby when hundreds of popular entertainment venues were raided across the nation. As a result, images of utterly belittled women, often completely undressed and forced to squat in demeaning poses, flooded the internet and triggered fierce debate. Despite reportedly bringing prostitution down by 18.4% on a month-on-month basis, is bringing shame on these women, and by extension, on their families, really the right way to approach the problem? And what about their pimps; why do they never appear in such degrading light? The raid issue raises important questions, many which are still being debated or not fully answered today.
Below is a translation of an article posted on gcpnews.com which outlines eight reasons why last year’s approach to the crackdown was anything but humane.
1) The media’s bottomless appetite for shame
From the start of the 2010 nationwide anti-vice crackdown in China, one of the most typical modes of policing was the “exposure method.” From the looks of much of last year’s media coverage of the crackdown, this so-called “enforcing the law through exposure” method has not only become a common practice of police forces nationwide, but also one of the most reliably reported stories of 2010. When police in China break down a door, you can bet that a frothing crowd of reporters will burst in soon after. And what’s the inevitable result? Nothing less than some poor soul, embarrassed to the core of her being, exposed and ridiculed while being stark naked and unprepared.
2) Indiscriminate use of force
For a prime example of the recent law enforcement tack toward street prostitution, take the following story from Kunming: On October 21st, 2010, at 21:00, police officers approached several prostitutes working a city street. The women immediately scattered, but were all rounded up soon afterwards; two were forced to the ground, while the rest were subdued against a nearby wall. Not surprisingly, the resultant photo of a woman kneeling in submissive defeat (pictured above) instantly triggered fierce online debate as soon as it, hit the web. Personal dignity is one of the fundamental rights of the Chinese people; even though this woman may have taken a few wrong steps in life, was it truly necessary to treat her so roughly?
3) Talk is cheap
Liu Shaowu, head of the Ministry of Public Security, was quoted on December 11, 2010 at a public security work meeting as saying, “The women we formerly referred to as ‘prostitutes’ should now be called ‘lost women.’ Even people different to the norm deserve respect.”
Though it’s easy to see the positive intent at the heart of this change in word usage, the true meaning of respect cannot merely be relegated to a simple shift in language, but must be shown by honoring human rights, and through more compassionate law enforcement practices.
4) A high price to pay
On October 12th, 2010, in the Daxin Community on Nantou Street in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District, a number of women were walking the street, periodically escorting men in and out of a nearby storefront. “How about a good time, 30 Yuan,” they would say to passersby. Shenzhen policemen recently broke up this little operation, arresting several of the women in the process.
“Prices are high and rising; prostitutes may attempt to keep up with the market, but they are bound to fail…” With the way prices are skyrocketing everywhere these days, the appearance of 30 RMB prostitutes is bound to give people deeply mixed feelings.
5) “Dear Sir, your daughter is a prostitute…”
“Your relative is currently working at ____ Beauty and Leisure Shop, a store known for the illegal activities that occur on its premises. As this individual’s relation, you have the right to know the specifics of her work environment. The Public Security Department also hopes that you will assist us in convincing your relative to abandon the poor path that she has been taking.” As soon as police in Xiangfu, located in Hangzhou’s Gongshu District, wrote just such a letter to the family of a woman suspected of prostitution, a heated battle of words began to rage on the internet. As expressed by many internet users, this method of policing infringed upon a whole series of human rights, including the suspect’s right to privacy, the reputations of the suspect and her family and the suspect’s employment rights.
6) Objects on display
After the cover of night had fallen, a man and woman took a shower together, were completely naked and were about to do whatever comes next, when suddenly a cadre of police officers burst through the door. Reporters followed soon after, their cameras flashing all the while. This was one of the special anti-vice activities planned for National Day by the Futian police department in Shenzhen. As soon as the resultant picture—seen above—was released to various websites and news organizations, it was immediately titled, “The most beautiful scene of anti-vice police activity,” and was described as follows: “This is the most human of all the anti-vice photographs taken thus far; it is entirely without violence and provokes a feeling of compassion for all mankind.”
The man and woman are both naked; he is on the ground signing his name; she is sitting on the bed, hiding her face. Why must they endure the embarrassment of having their naked bodies exposed on the internet for all to see? Where is the beauty in all of this?
7) XXX marks the spot
Wang Xiuyong became famous after drawing an “anti-vice map” to assist the police in their investigations. However, after what happened next, he was forced to give up his job as a street performer. On December 24th he boarded a train from Dongguan bound for home. Escorting him home on the ride was the anti-vice map, 8,000 RMB of police-donated relief money, and a feeling of regret in his heart. Because Wang Xiuyong drew that map and helped the police, he received a terrifying act of retribution during the fierce storm of anti-vice police activity that blew through Dongguan last year.
8) Too ‘open?’ Better open fire…
According to reports, on August 7th, 2010, two groups of police officers who were conducting an anti-vice raid in the Golden Rome (Jin Luoma) Bathhouse, located in a newly added district of Jingjiang City in Jiangsu Province, suddenly opened fire among each other and five police were injured.
That two groups of Jingjiang police officers could open fire among each other in front of a group of prostitutes working out of a bathhouse is beyond absurd. This circumstance seems more than a little fishy, and one has to wonder what kind of plot might be going on behind the scenes. In any case, don’t even try to look for any evidence of justice or proper police behavior in all of this, because you won’t find it.
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Keywords: prostitution raids China prostitution crackdown China 2010 How Chinese police battled prostitution
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old news I just read this now . Well said Chaching everything you said is correct . I could add a wrung onto your ladder but anyone reading should be able to see clearly over . There are alot of people who just want to defend darkness and not climb to see reality.
Sep 12, 2011 16:39 Report Abuse