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    Soliciting Sex in Hunan? Police Might Tell Everyone You Know

    A residential district’s new policy allows employers, family members, and neighbors to be notified of sex work-related offenses.

    Local authorities in central China’s Hunan province have warned that individuals involved in illegal sex work — on either the giving or receiving end — may be reported to their employers, family members, and residential communities, domestic media reported Sunday.

    An official with the Shangmaocheng Residential District in the provincial capital of Changsha, who refused to give his name, told Sixth Tone that local officials have been putting up notices in several neighborhoods to help people become aware of the new rule.

    According to Sunday’s announcement, the move is aimed at “fighting against indecency to purify the social atmosphere and maintain social harmony and stability.”

    Under Chinese law, individuals who solicit or manage sex workers can receive 10 to 15 days’ administrative detention and a fine of up to 5,000 yuan ($760). For cases of administrative detention, local public security bureaus are required to notify family members of the reason. Shangmaocheng’s policy goes a step further by calling for employers and residential communities to be notified as well.

    However, according to the national law, if the detained person refuses to provide contact information for family members, public security organs may not have the means to notify them.

    Peng Manqun, an official with the Shangmaocheng Residential District, told domestic media that violators’ misdeeds would only be shared with their employers, family members, and communities where their households are officially registered, and would not be made public.

    “We want to raise their sense of shame and their awareness of the law, and ask these people who want to do these things to consider the consequences, including their reputations and family harmony,” a local police officer, Tan Bo, was quoted as saying.

    Zhang Ying, a Xi’an-based lawyer with Yingke Law Firm, told Sixth Tone that sharing lawbreakers’ transgressions in such a way would certainly make them feel their reputations are damaged. “But from the perspective of preventing crime, even if it has a deterrent effect, it may still constitute an invasion of privacy,” Zhang said.

    Contributions: Wu Ziyi; editor: Bibek Bhandari.

    (Header image: People Visual)