黄(huang2) (yellow) means pornography and prostitution. 扫黄 (sao3huang2) means sweeping the yellow, referring to police crackdowns, also known as cleanup campaigns and rooting out ‘vice’ and consisting of general harassment of sex workers. Such a sweep is underway in Dongguan, a manufacturing centre in Guangdong province known as China’s sex capital. What’s more interesting is how this city’s sex industry uses modern business techniques. Southern Metropolis Weekly’s new cover shows a typical sms message advertising sex services received by visitors and explains how Dongguan’s manufacturing practices have seeped over into the sex industry in the form of standardised services. Complaints aboutt the uncertain nature of services provided by ordinary sex establishments go like this: ‘Whether you pay 300 or 1,500 yuan, what you pay for isn’t what you end up getting. Say there’s a girl who claims to be skilled in a particular service. She’ll actually be rough and clumsy. And because it’s all grey-market, if they overcharge you, you just have to accept that you’re getting screwed.’ The following excerpts explain how standardisation works, including how sex workers train themselves. Note: 100 yuan = 10 euros
4 December 2009, Southern Metropolis Weekly
. . . The catchy phrases manage, in the space of a few dozen characters, to clearly lay out an establishment’s offerings — usually “Dongguan-style service” — price, and contact person. The goal is clear: practically all men of means across the Pearl River Delta will receive these messages. Mai, the manager of a mass SMS distribution company in Houjiezhen said, “For just 200 yuan, you can have a company send a text message to 7,000 car owners in the Pearl River Delta.”
. . . The saunas of Dongguan and its surroundings are known for the following: for 400 to 600 yuan, sex workers will provide 15 to 30 different types of services over the course of two hours. These sex services are standardized, from the opening strip tease and the sex worker’s expression to the number of times the customer can climax. The rise of the manufacturing industry in recent years has brought ideas about standardized production along with it. Workers in local manufacturing who frequent Dongguan’s sex industry jokingly call the sex standards the industry’s “ISO,” which even has its own ex-post evaluation system. Practically all of Dongguan’s hotels and saunas will ask customers for an itemized assessment, and if any girl is thought to be slacking off or is no longer attractive to customers, her wages will be cut.
To keep up turnover rates, saunas in Dongguan are set up with many rooms on multiple floors, all of which are furnished with the waterbeds and dance floors needed for services, but the steam rooms and lounge areas found in ordinary saunas are not found. Reporters found that because of “ISO,” competition revolves around the opulence of furnishings, and the size or particular characteristics of its group of sex workers . . .
Reporters found that no one in that line of work could say with certainty where these services originated. Some described them as coming from the “Thai baths” (aka body massage) that are familiar to men in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but in training centers, sex workers typically used adult videos from Japan as their source for new techniques. The training process is more intense than the technical training given to factory workers, and its contents include the use of fruit to increase sex workers’ mouth strength. “A dozen days of training is enough to take the skin off your knees,” one sex worker who recently entered the profession told this reporter.
Another aspect of the crackdown is translated at China Hush.