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'Prostitute Parade' in Shenzhen Stirs Debate in China
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The parading of a group of prostitutes by local police in Shenzhen on Wednesday has triggered a heated debate in China.

The Shenzhen Futian Police officers forced 100 prostitutes and their customers to parade in the street while they read out their personal details on loudspeakers, their latest tactic to fight the city's sex industry.

The sex workers were made to wear yellow vests and white surgical masks which only revealed their eyes as thousands of people watched the march.

Yao Jianguo, a lawyer from Shanghai, criticized the parade, saying it had a "baneful social and international influence" and labeling it "illegal" in an open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Other media reports said that the All-China Women's Federation had also voiced their disapproval but when Xinhua contacted a federation official surnamed Zhang, she refused to comment immediately.

Some local citizens have hailed the parade as an example of the police's resolution to crack down on the sex industry.

"Dozens of prostitutes have moved out of the village every day after seeing the parade," a man from Shazui village who refused to be named told the New Express Daily.

The villager said that, with economic development, prostitution had become rampant in recent years leading to the "deterioration of the social atmosphere."

The parade has also been fervently discussed on the Internet. Some netizens said that the sex industry had ruined people's lives so sex workers should not be shown sympathy. They also said the parade would improve the general public security situation in Shenzhen.

Others said that they supported the transparency of law enforcement but citizen's privacy should be fully respected.

"These people may have done something wrong, but their dignity should have been preserved," said one netizen.

The Shenzhen Futian police authorities refused to make any comment on the parade but said they would keep close watch over the city's pornographic industry.
(CRI.com December 8, 2006)

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