Dear Wang Jianshuo,
I am a frequent reader of, and occasional poster in your wonderful blog.
I’m writing to ask if you could start a topic on prostitution in China in your blog. I know that prostitution in China is theoretically illegal, but in practice, KTVs, bath houses, massage parlours, disguised barbor shops etc. are everywhere and everybody knows it.
Of I course I’m not talking about writing a Shanghai red light tourist guide. Instead, I’d be interested to learn more about the evolution and characteristics of this industry. Key questions might include:
- What kind of people are the owners of the venues? How do they make sure that their venue doesn’t get closed down by the police (systematic bribery?)?
- What kind of women (and men) enter this industry? For which reasons?
- How much do sex workers earn (I’ve heard, the average monthly wage of prostitutes amounts to ~10,000 RMB; massage ladies earn up to 5,000 RMB per month)? What are their costs/sacrifices (lying to their family, permanent fear of getting jailed, loss of youth or up to 10 years of their life?)?
- How is an approximate value of a prostitute determined? By her beauty? Who judges this? By the wealth of her frequent clients? Or by what else? Why do some really "ugly" prositutes demand high prices in expensive KTV venues, whereas other relatively more beautiful prostitutes in less extravagant venues demand a lower price? Can the latter try to get a job in a higher-profile venue? – What kind of people are the patrons?
- Is it true that about 5 years ago, prostitutes used to earn significantly more than the average white-collar employee? How come that prices for sex services have gone down so sharply?
Of course, I know this is a sensitive and controversial topic, and I leave it totally up to you to decide whether to start such a topic. However, if you decide not to start it, could you provide me with some information or references on the internet for me do to some further research? Ideally in English, but I could also try to handle articles in Chinese :)
Thank you, pal!
Good topic. I know it is controversal, but this blog is not a blog shy away of these topics, espeically when I feel the reader is genuninely offering attention to the less fortunately (or should I say so) people (sex workers). It is with sympathy when we dig into details.
The fact is, however, I really have no idea about the anwser of any of the questions, and I even cannot make a guess. So I want to direct this question to my other readers who may be journalist in this field in the last few years to give us some insight, or if you know a link, share it. Thanks.