Chinese people, and especially youth from developed cities, are known to struggle between traditional conservatism and modern openness considered as western values by the government.
In the case of sex, these contradictory values lead to an interesting phenomenon. Sex labour or prostitution is illegal in China but is rampant in venues such as massage parlours, nightclubs, hair salons and karaoke bars. On the Internet, sex, through sexy webcams or even underaged pregnant girls showing off on apps are repeatedly fought by government agencies. However, in the end, the culture of mistress is still vivid, and many cases have been brought to light by both citizens and the anti-corruption regulations promulgated since Xi Jinping came to power.
Prostitution in China
There is no public statistics about the number of sex labour in China, sometimes the number is estimated to be around 10 million. Some cities are famous for their sex industry, such as Dongguan in the South Eastern Guangdong province, where the authorities are repeatedly raiding bars and hotels. Furthermore, the sex worker could often be found next to business areas, railway stations, military bases or even universities and small cities suburbs. Sex labour is often young women came to the city from countryside and hoping to find better living conditions. However, they ended by being exploited by madams or prostitution rings. The Chinese government constantly fight against this exploitation by closing brothels and jailing their bosses. As the supply of women and consumers seems to never dry up, it is going to be a long fight.
Sex on the internet in China
With a huge smartphone equipment rate and the success of applications like Wechat or Momo, some moral-less practices developed. These applications give the opportunity to the users to send rewards to the ‘youtubers’, which they then can change to real money. Some people started using it to spread pornography content around the network, in exchange for money. The government crackdown came fast, with a warning sent to the app providers and a strengthened presence of police on the forums. These apps recently used by underaged pregnant teens, with the same result: these shows were invalided by Chinese socialist moral.
The numerous cases of corrupted officials brought to light following Xi Jinping crackdown on corruption also came with their load of mistresses. In China, mistresses are often called “Xiao san”, which means “the little third” of the couple. This tradition has old roots in Chinese culture, despite regulations is keeping vivid. These mistresses are hidden by their lovers, but as they consume the couple’s wealth, women often fight against them. There are several cases of angry women groups chasing humiliating against these “Xiao san” in public.
In conclusion, sex is still a kind of taboo subject in Chinese society fought by many regulations and government actions, while the practices are evolving in a mix of tradition and technology.