Scarlet Alliance

  You are not logged in Log in
Welcome 中文 ไทย 한걸

"Backlash over humiliation of prostitutes" Jonathan Watts, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December 2006

A PARADE of prostitutes aimed at naming and shaming sex workers in southern China has sparked a backlash by an unusual coalition of lawyers, academics and the All-China Women's Federation.

As part of a crackdown on vice in the booming city of Shenzhen, public security officers hauled about 100 women and some of their male customers through the streets on November 29.

Handcuffed and wearing yellow prison tunics, people in the parade attracted large crowds of curious onlookers.

Although the women tried to cover their faces with masks, it was not enough to hide their identities because police revealed their names, home towns and dates of birth while sentencing them to 15 days in prison.

In a sign of the increased consciousness of individual versus social rights, police were criticised for going too far.

"I think the parade is a violation of human rights," said Ai Xiaoming, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. "The public humiliation may frighten people, but it is not a good way to resolve problems. And it is not fair. Why are only sex criminals paraded in public? What about people guilty of graft and corruption?"

The All-China Women's Federation filed a protest to the Ministry of Public Security, saying the parade was "old-fashioned", "damaging to social harmony", and "an insult to all the women in China". Legal questions were also raised by Yao Jianguo of the law firm Shanghai Promise, who has complained to the National People's Congress, accusing the police of acting illegally and violating human dignity.

The China Daily reported that the Shenzhen Police Bureau was expected to release an official response to the incident.

The resurgence of the "skin-and-flesh" trade has become increasingly visible since the start of China's free market economic reforms in the late 1970s.

Among the most notorious centres are Shenzhen and Zhuhai - the biggest mainland cities near Hong Kong - where there are streets full of pink-lit karaoke centres and massage parlours.

This week police in Shaanxi province raided and demolished hairdressing salons in the capital, Xian, which they said were being used as a front for prostitution.

Previous attempts to tackle the industry have had mixed results. Three years ago the organisers of an orgy involving more than 200 Japanese sex tourists and local prostitutes were sentenced to life imprisonment. Earlier this year thousands of police were deployed in Shenzhen to quash a protest by more than 3000 prostitutes and karaoke hostesses left without jobs after massage parlours and discos were closed.

Link to original story