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Tighter Rules on Bath Houses, Massage Parlors
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The Ministry of Commerce has ordered all public bath houses to make their premises more accessible to public inspections in a bid to fight the growing sex trade.

The ministry released draft rules on Thursday that require bath houses with massage rooms to be viewed openly from the outside.

Foot-massage parlors must have their cubicle doors unlocked when attending clients.

The draft rules have been posted on the ministry's website to solicit public opinion before September 10.

Commerce and health authorities are determined to combat the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in public places.

Earlier last month, the commerce and health authorities ordered all hotels, resorts and public bath houses in the country to provide condom-dispensing machines.

Some cities have already taken the lead in cracking down on the sex trade.

Shanghai introduced regulations last year requiring all bath houses and hair dressing saloons to have clear glass windows.

The eastern province of Zhejiang passed a regulation in March requiring all hotels and bars to install condom-dispensing machines.

The new draft rules also stipulate that towels, slippers and teacups, should be sanitized after use.

Water in bathing pools should also be refreshed at least twice a day.

These new rules tighten existing ones, which are now outdated, the ministry of commerce said.

Bath houses and massage parlors will be ranked every two years on their standards, those failing will be ordered to shut down.

"The new rules will lift service standards of the industry and ensure customers enjoy good service," a manager surnamed Zhou of a bath house in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, said.

But Zhou also questioned whether the health and commerce authorities have the necessary staff to inspect all bath and massages facilities in the country and crackdown on the substandard ones.

(China Daily September 1, 2007)

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