River Crabbed: Prostitution Bust in Dongguan

Screenshot from the CCTV exposé.

Screenshot from the CCTV exposé.

A CCTV prostitution bust has backfired on many netizens. The state news broadcaster ran an exposé last week on the southern city of Dongguan, China’s “sex capital.” Undercover reporters secretly filmed inside hotels and karaoke clubs, where women wearing skimpy outfits and price tags paraded on stage for clients. 67 prostitutes were arrested in a raid on several venues in the city after the program aired.

Some netizens replied with a big “so what,” while many showed sympathy for the prostitutes as victims of an exploitative system. “CCTV did an undercover report, but what came out was superficial, with no deeper questioning,” television host Li Jiajia told the New York Times.

Southern Media Group, which owns the liberal Southern Weekly, argued on Weibo that “far more worthy of attention are the violence in this oldest profession, the prostitutes’ living conditions and how, despite repeated crackdowns, all this continues under the protection of the powerful.” This post was soon deleted.

More weibo lampooning CCTV and pointing to the indiscretions of government officials have also been censored:

犯贱滴掏心话: A bunch of folks who can’t control their own “third legs” are trying to control the people’s.

一群自己裤裆都管不住的人,试图管住民众的裤裆。

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In this image, censored along with the text above it, the components of the second character in Dongguan (东莞) have been highlighted. The black 艹 (cǎo) is one of many ways netizens render “fuck” without writing it literally (肏 cào); 完 (wán) means “the end” or “over.”

媒体机: The truth according to Xinwen Lianbo: Nowadays, even the call girls are elected. Only the leaders aren’t.

新闻联播道出的真相是:这个年代,连小姐都是选出来的,只有领导人不是。

导演高晓舰: Thug’s bricks / gangster’s guns / sex worker’s human rights can’t be discussed // danger in bed / dinner in jail / plainclothes reporters choking the streets // blind to the law / deaf to morals / disastrous “hit” in Dongguan // G-Spot in Focus / CCAV / exploited call girls can only cry // humiliation, discrimination / stifled by injustice / degraded women with bitter hearts…

痞子的砖,流氓的枪,性工作者的人权没法讲;危险的床,监牢的饭,暗访的记者满街串;不懂法的盲,价值观的乱,东莞的“震”后有灾难;G点访谈的斧,CCAV的毒,被剥削与被迫害的小姐只有哭;被歧视的辱,不公平的堵,没尊严的姐妹心里苦…

SZ老狗: On my way to Guangzhou, there’s this CCTV news truck on the highway leaving Dongguan. It’s probably returning victorious from its prostitution bust. There are no license plates on the front or rear of the vehicle. It seems that morally energized CCTV reporters have no need for the law.

去广州,在广深高速上遇到从东莞上来的央视采访车,应该是刚刚成功扫黄载誉而归呢,前后都没有车牌。看来法律对于满身道德正能量的央视记者们是不需要了。

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From FreeWeibo via CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.

 crabWhen something disappears from the Internet in China, netizens joke that it has been “river-crabbed,” a play on the euphemism “harmonized.” River Crabbed (河蟹档案) is a collection of blog post titles, weibo, and other materials censored from their original sources on Chinese websites, either found by CDT or brought to our attention by outside projects.