Dongguan, sex capital of China, tightens grip over entertainment industry

Districts should crack down often and hand big cases to outside police, city says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 September, 2014, 3:55am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 September, 2014, 5:40pm

Keen to shake off its reputation as China's sex capital, Dongguan has rolled out new measures to tighten regulation of its entertainment industry.

The city said district governments should regularly crack down on venues associated with the sex trade, and any big cases should be handled by police in a different jurisdiction to ensure fairness.

At the same time, it would raise the entry barrier for new players, according to a document released to the media yesterday.

Dongguan shot to international attention after a massive police raid in February that targeted the sex trade run from its saunas, bars and hotels.

By mid-June police had arrested just over 3,000 people, and more than 3,500 hotels, saunas and massage parlours had had their licences revoked or been told to close until they rectified their operations, according to the Guangdong provincial public security department.

City officials appeared to suggest the current scope of Dongguan's entertainment industry had exceeded its capacity, which had led to cutthroat competition and illegal businesses.

Huang Ximing, the deputy chief of public security, said there were currently 198 fully licensed saunas, 581 singing and dancing venues, and 832 foot massage shops.

Registration of new venues would be screened by district and township governments, as well as fire services and the culture and birth planning departments, the city said. Local officials should also train industry managers and owners to boost awareness about crossing ethical lines, it said.

The sex trade generated an estimated 50 billion yuan (HK$63 billion), or 10 per cent of the city's gross domestic product, last year.