Red Lights Dim in China’s Sin City
Edward Wong at the New York Times looks at how the crackdown on the sex trade in Dongguan, Guangdong Province has impacted the local economy:
“In Dongguan, we have something called Dongguan-style service,” the young man with dyed brown hair said as he sat in a hotel restaurant, agreeing to speak on the condition that only his English nickname be used. “It’s the sex capital. It has a reputation. It’s as if you have ISO 9000 certification” — a reference to an international quality standard for service industries of all kinds.
“Now it’s all stopped,” he said.
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. [Source]