China media: Sex trade crackdown

Police have arrested several people from hotels in Dongguan, reports say Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police have arrested several people from hotels in Dongguan, reports say

A crackdown on the sex trade in Dongguan, China-Taiwan cross-strait talks and the implementation of the two-child policy are the main themes in Chinese papers on Tuesday.

The state-owned CCTV channel aired an investigative report which revealed that dozens of hotels in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan offered sex services.

Hours after the report, police arrested 67 people and shut down 12 entertainment venues, while two police chiefs were suspended.

Prostitution is illegal in China, but the sex trade is widespread. However, the TV channel's expose has divided opinion over the legality of prostitution in China.

"Some netizens equate freedom of sex to freedom of the sex market… That's why so many of them are sympathising with the sex workers in Dongguan and supporting the legalisation of prostitution," Lyu Xinyu, from Fudan University, tells the Xinhua news agency.

Defending CCTV, the Global Times says the TV network is "negatively viewed by a certain number of web users" only.

"Nonetheless, prompting a swift wipe-out of the illicit venues, the CCTV has fully demonstrated its capacity to offer objective reports and wield incredible influence," the paper adds.

In contrast, a commentary in the Legal Daily criticises the report, describing it as "an alternative advertisement for the 'sex capital' that will instead lure more male comrades to visit".

"Whether it is the one reporting or the one watching the news, everyone is treating the crackdown as a form of entertainment. The question is, why is there never an end to the trade… and since there is a huge demand, is it that other alternatives have gone unnoticed? "

Elsewhere, media outlets are giving prominent coverage to the four-day scheduled talks between the top officials from China and Taiwan.

Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, arrived in Nanjing on Tuesday morning and is due to meet his counterpart Zhang Zhijun.

The China News Service notes that Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is "paying great attention" to the meeting.

These are the highest-level cross-strait talks since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Moving on to domestic news, media are reporting that more provincial areas will implement the "two-child" policy, which allows couples to have two children if either of them is an only child.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission has confirmed that Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi Provinces have already implemented the "two-child policy", with nine other provincial areas expected to be added to the list, according to the Beijing Times.

China introduced its one-child policy at the end of the 1970s, but it was relaxed in November last year during the Third Plenum meeting of the Communist Party leadership.

Kerry's Asia visit

In international news, some media outlets are analysing the political inclination of the new Tokyo governor towards China.

Former TV presenter and cabinet minister Yoichi Masuzoe was elected Tokyo's governor on Sunday.

Mr Masuzoe is said to be "pro-nuclear" and agrees with government plans to restart Japan's nuclear reactors, but the Chinese media say his victory is rather "positive" for China.

The China Youth Daily notes that Mr Masuzoe has "never made any right-winged statement nor visited the Yasukuni Shrine", and may keep his work focused on domestic issues.

Liu Yongjiang, analyst at the Tsinghua University, tells the Beijing Youth Daily that Mr Masuzoe is "unlikely to challenge relationships with neighbouring countries" and his victory is "a relatively positive outcome amid the current tension between Japan and China".

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit China on Friday and "will reaffirm US commitment to pursuing a positive relationship with China", reports the Xinhua news agency.

China is the second stop in Mr Kerry's Asia trip which will begin on Thursday in South Korea. He will also visit Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

The China Daily notes that US officials seldom skip Japan when they visit China and South Korea, but this time Tokyo has been excluded.

Tao Wenzhao, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tells the daily that the US has urged Japan to improve its ties with China and South Korea after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine.

"The US is unwilling to see the trend of growing right-wing forces in Japan. It is likely that Kerry will reaffirm Washington's stance in China and South Korea," he is quoted as saying.

The Southern Metropolis Daily says that besides discussing "general topics", Mr Kerry's trip might also serve as a warm-up to meetings between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in March.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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