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China, Sex and Prostitution

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... 15 These women are gray because they are neither considered morally upright members of the " white " world of marriage and legitimate employment, nor are they labeled immoral like prostitutes or sex workers engaged in the " black " underworld. In many ways, the actions of these gray women may indeed seem to resemble the practices of the top three levels of prostitution (out of a seven-tiered hierarchy) codified by the Chinese police (Elaine Jeffreys 2004). 16 The first tier, ernai (second wife), is a kind of salaried mistress of men with money and influence who provide her with a steady income, accommodation, and gifts in exchange for sex and her company. ...
... The Chinese authorities cannot equate " hostessing " with prostitution per se, but it is an activity that promotes its practice (Tiantian Zheng 2009). The other four tiers, dingdong girls (doorbell girls) who work in hotels as prostitutes, falangmei (sex workers employed in bath houses, foot massage parlors, beauty parlors), jienü (women who solicit customers in public spaces usually outside hotels and theatres), and xiagongpei (women who engage in paid intercourse with China's transient male labor force) are obvious sellers of sex, and these women do not play a part in the more complex arrangements within the matrix of wealth, femininity, and sexuality (Jeffreys 2004). 18 According to the World Health Organization, China has the largest commercial sex workforce in the world, with an estimated 10 million men and women so employed – more than 300,000 in the city of Beijing alone (Lionel M. Jensen 2009). ...
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