SPECIAL NOTE: I respect and enjoy the writings and reports by one of China’s famous writer, journalist and a social commentator. Miss Zhang knows her country well and I love every word from her pen! Read her report about the rise of prostitution, why why why many women resort to using their bodies to make a living! What a revelation reading this report…but having lived in China for 7 years as a visiting professor, I have my own views and perspectives about rampant sexual activities going on everywhere you turn. Few people realise that sex is everywhere in China…more than what I see everyday in my adopted country, the United States of America. In America, we have too many fucking Christian hypocrites, who would rather not talk about sexual activities openly and frankly…yes, too many fucking Christians telling you how to live your fucking lives…no holding hands, no kissing, no fucking until they are legally married! This is America, I have lived here for more than 4 decades…not in China. In China, I see dogs fucking right in front of you around the campus…yes, there is sex everywhere…believe me, go there, not to Thailand, though many horny young Australians and gay Americans, and Gay Chinese are going in droves to Thailand to fuck the innocent poor boys and girls there…I should know, because my mother was from Thailand! So visit China and you can find out cheap sex everywhere in every city! This is sexual paradise…if you want sex, America is not the place for you! I live here. Enjoy Miss Zhang’s superb report on the rise of prostitution among many women in China…why they are selling their bodies for money! There are reasons for everything we do! Passion power peace, Steve Jan 24
How China’s market economy has fuelled a prostitution boom
Lijia Zhang says the country’s economic reforms have ushered in opportunities but also setbacks, including a resurgence of gender discrimination that is pushing more vulnerable women into sex work
PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 January, 2018,
Lijia Zhang —Lijia Zhang is a writer, journalist and social commentator
In our old family album, there was only one photograph of my maternal grandma in her youth, in which she looked like a film star with her silk cheongsam and permed hair. Then, at her deathbed in 1998, I learnt that my beloved grandma had been a prostitute!
As this shocking revelation sparked an intense curiosity about prostitution, I started to see prostitutes everywhere. In the glow of pink neon lights, made-up women, their dresses as thin as cicadas’ wings, operate from massage parlours, hair salons or bathhouses, all fronts for brothels.
I decided to write a novel on prostitution in China. For a while, I volunteered with an NGO for female sex workers in Tianjin, a prosperous port city south of Beijing, where I discovered how massive the sex industry had become.
China’s answer to Google Maps shows where to find prostitutes
I blame China’s market economy for this phenomenon because, in the process of China’s transition from a planned to a market economy, women have shouldered too much of the burden and cost. This has driven some of the most vulnerable women into the flesh trade as it presents one of the few options they have.
Having gained power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party shut down the brothels and declared the oldest human trade eradicated. In the reform era, with growing wealth, relaxed social controls and a large mobile population, the sex industry has made a spectacular return – underground, of course, as it is still illegal. And the market economy has also placed women at a disadvantage. The income gapbetween genders has been widening. In 1990, urban women on average earned 78 per cent of what men did; the figure today has dropped to 67.3 per cent. Rural women fare even worse at 65 per cent.
Guesthouse in Mao’s village now a brothel
The market economy has brought opportunities to women, particularly educated urban women, but also setbacks. The traditional attitude of viewing women as inferior to men, which had been repressed by Mao, has resurfaced with the economic reforms. Some companies set much higher recruiting standards for women, while others refuse to hire women of childbearing age. Female university graduates are having a harder time finding employment whereas, in the past, the government allocated jobs to graduates regardless of their gender. When the ailing state-owned enterprises laid off workers to become more competitive, women were always the first to go.
Lin Zhi, from Shenyang in China’s northern “rust belt”, was sacked from her factory job in the early 1990s. It was almost impossible for an unskilled middle-aged woman to find employment, yet she had to support her two children and a husband who had lost a hand in a work accident. So she travelled down to Tianjin where she found a job at a so-called bathhouse. Then, when she realised that her colleagues who provided sexual services could make a lot more money, she followed suit.
Unlike my grandmother, who was sold into prostitution, the vast majority of women enter the trade of their own accord, but often driven by desperate poverty or unfortunate circumstances: being abandoned by their husbands, having lost their jobs, falling seriously ill. Women serving the middle to low end of the market are typically rural, uneducated and unskilled women, with a few laid-off workers.
They make up the bulk of the prostitution workforce. For some middle to high-end sex workers, prostitution is a lifestyle choice. Aware that their chances of securing a high-paid job are slim, a small but growing number of attractive university students offer themselves as mistresses to rich and powerful men, commonly known in China as ernai (second wife), effectively a modern-day concubine.
‘I trafficked women at a famous Hong Kong nightclub’
No one knows the precise number of sex workers in Chinaas the topic is too sensitive for academic research. In 2013, the United Nations estimated there were four to six million, citing police sources. The consensus is that there are between four and 10 million sex workers in China. One thing is certain: prostitution has been on the rise in China since 1982, as described by Elaine Jeffrey in her book China, Sex and Prostitution.
Many vulnerable women bear the brunt of cold-hearted capitalism without seeing any of the benefits of socialism
The sex industry has become an increasingly important part of the Chinese economy. In an article published in 2000, Zhong Wei estimated that the sex trade contributes about 6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product with annual consumption at 1 trillion yuan (HK$1.21 trillion). He also estimates that there are 20 million sex workers in China. This is a clear indication of growing gender inequality, accelerated by the market economy. Many vulnerable women bear the brunt of cold-hearted capitalism without seeing any of the benefits of socialism: the social safety net is so thin that it is all too easy for them to fall into prostitution.
My grandma was always grateful to Mao, mainly because she was upgraded from a concubine to a wife under the Communists “one wife” rule. She would be horrified to hear that millions of women are still doing the same job that she spent the rest of her life repenting.
Lijia Zhang is a writer, journalist and social commentator