Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997 21:42:04 -0800 (PST) From: Wan Yan Hai <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Multiple recipients of <email@example.com> Subject: ICOP speech (fwd)International Conference on Prostitution
Airtel Plaza Hotel, Van Nuys, California
March 13, 14, 15, 16, 1997
Presented by The Center for Sex Research, California State University, Northridge and COYOTE LA
Hello! Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for allowing me to describe Prostitution and Its Public Policies in Modern China. I have been involved in AIDS education and related social behavioral research in Mainland China since 1990. At first, I assessed the impact of the anti-prostitution movement in China, visiting jails designed to reeducate prostitutes and their clients in 1990. As director of an AIDS Helpline in 1992 and 1993, I had many deep discussions with both male and female prostitutes on the phone and in person. Later, I discussed AIDS/HIV/STD education and treatment among Chinese sexual work participants with the officials in the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Public Security when I worked in the National Health Education Institute from 1991 to 1993. Finally, as coordinator of AIZHI Action Project which is a non-government organization for AIDS education and advocacy of rights for sexual minorities, I have kept a close relationship with sexual work participants both gay and transgendered persons from 1994 to 1996. Currently, I am a visiting scholar at the Institute for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Public Security, the total number of sexual work participants arrested in 1991 was about 200,000. In 1992, the number rose 20% and has been rising since. But according to experts, the real number of sexual work participants in Chinese society is obviously much higher than those who were arrested. Some estimate that the real number may be 20 times that reported.
In China, sexual work has been targeted because of the ruling party's political and ideological need for maintaining the so-called socialist line and "good" Chinese traditions. Every year, there is a nationwide campaign against commercial sexual work in China, including police detention and media stigmatization. Recently, because the Chinese society and its government have become more commercial, capitalist and corrupt, it may really be that the law and action against sexual work is an exercise for the ruling party to sharpen its tools for use in political, police, ideological and other areas where pressure is applied. Still every year, in the campaign against sexual work, political dissidents and marginal social groups such as gay people are regularly arrested.
But the repression of sexual work and sexual minorities in general is not just for political and ideological reasons, but simple graft. Many police punish the sexual work participants and other sexual minorities severely and also pocket their personal money and charge more in bribes.
In many criminal cases against sexual work participants or other sexual minorities such as gay people, the police often condemn the victims morally, but ignore any crimes commited against them by others. Every year, when the campaign against sexual work or promiscuity began, the incidence of crimes against sexual work participants or other sexual minorities rises.
Generally speaking, there was no criminal law against commercial sexual work in China prior to 1996 and the law will be changed this year. But there have been labour sentence for education against sexual work in China since 1991. In the reeducation or labour for education institutes, the detainees were put to labor and underwent "Socialist Spiritual Civilization Education" but were never taught any useful skills or given health education.
The incidence of STD among sexual work participants is very high. According to the statistics of the Guangzhou reeducational center, the rate of STD infection among female sex workers arrested was 83% in 1990. Now, HIV is spreading in China and in some areas such as Yunnan Province, HIV infection has been spread more rapidly among commercial sexual work participants with the context of higher incidence of drug use. In Kunming, capital city of Yunnan Province in 1994, condom use was less than 5% among STD patients, single use syringes were not common, most female sexual workers in the reeducation center used drugs, and most female drug users in the reeducation center were also commercial sexual workers.
AIDS/HIV/STD are also big problems in China for gay male commercial sexual work participants.
Transgendered people are not common but I know that some transgenders earn money through commercial sex because of the financial burden brought on by the expensive operation and the large financial loss after the operation.
Gay male commercial sexual work is common in contemporary China, especially in some of the big and open cities. It is estimated that there are several thousand gay male sexual workers in Beijing alone. The reason for this situation is complex. Many gay people leave their hometowns in the countryside and move to urban areas to escape family and heterosexual marriage pressures, the homophobic attitudes of neighbors and so on. Some, maybe a lot, of gay males lose their jobs after being arrested. And of course the situation of gay male sexual work promotes the danger of blackmail and robbery.
No openly gay organization exists in China. Some health groups such as our AIZHI Action Project still receive a lot of pressure from police as well as budget difficulties.
According to the slogans of the communist government, sexual work needs to be eradicated in China. The Ministry of Public Health has always said that attacking and eradicating sexual work will help prevent and control AIDS/HIV/STD. No special psychological, social, legal or health services for commercial sexual work participants exist except when they are arrested. And the services in the jail are designed to transform them into morally good people, but not help them become more healthy persons with safer practices.
Many sexual work participants go to underground doctors or get help from their relatives. No specific safer sex education has been held for sexual work participants in China even to this very moment.
Commercial sexual work is illegal in China and the participants have many health and social problems. Commercial sexual work is a target of the ruling party's political, ideological and even the police's economical needs. The government health department pays no attention to the health of sexual work participants and believed they can achieve their health objectives by eradicating sexual work. No community based organization can play a special role in the health and social service for sexual work participants. Some NGOs and academic institutes can play a role in the strategy or theory issues in health and service and even human rights protection for commercial sexual work participants, but they can't impact the general situation of human rights harassment and the AIDS/HIV/STD epidemic. Social and health workers face a massive challenge from the police, government and the party.
----------------------------------------------------------------------- Wan Yan Hai, Scholar at the Center for Feminist Research, University of Southern California. Mailing address: 2474 Silver Ridge Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039-3322 Phone: 213-663-8524 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------------- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - This message is from the HKQueer mailing list. If you wish to unsubscribe, send the message UNSUBSCRIBE HKQUEER to email@example.com ->For information on Gay Hong Kong, go to http://sqzm14.ust.hk/hkgay.html <-