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China Daily Website

Closing 'protective umbrella'

Updated: 2014-02-25 08:16
( China Daily)

As China's anti-graft war picks up momentum, a nationwide crackdown on the sex trade has become a key part of the nation's efforts to root out entrenched corruption, says a Xinhua commentary.

Soon after the media reported the police raids on Feb 9 in South China's Dongguan, the campaign went national.

This time the crackdown is also targeted at uncovering the corruptive forces who have protected or connived with this underground industry, which continues to run wild despite repeated attempts at containment.

It focuses on the organizers, operators and the "protective umbrella" of the sex trade. Police leaders and officials found to be guilty of involvement will be seriously punished.

In Dongguan, Yan Xiaokang, vice-mayor and head of the city's Public Security Bureau, was removed from his post for dereliction of duty. The local deputy police head Lu Weiqi and several other officials were also sacked.

In addition, a number of people affiliated with the government were exposed as being involved in the sex trade. State television reported that Liang Yaohui, a deputy to the national legislature, was running a five-star hotel involved in prostitution.

Prostitution is illegal and regarded as immoral in China, as it is bound to involve social corruption, organized crime, the abduction and trafficking of women, violence and criminal gangs.

However, local governments are ambivalent toward the sex trade, which some claim can be a substantial contributor to local economy and jobs. Consequently there is bribery and collusion by officials.

So a hotbed for corruption is usually created as a consequence of this compromise by local governments.

Since China's new leadership assumed office last year, the corruption fight has remained one of its top tasks.

Addressing a disciplinary meeting in January, top Party leader Xi Jinping described corruption as "a disease that calls for powerful drugs". He reiterated there was zero tolerance for graft and promised to seriously punish every corrupt official.

There has been criticism of China's sex trade crackdown. However, with the deepening of the campaign and the round-up of more corrupt figures, such voices will surely weaken.