The Chinese government on Friday sacked the police chief of the southern “sin city” of Dongguan following a candid report by the state broadcaster on the underground sex industry there, Xinhua news agency reported.
Yan Xiaokang (嚴小康), who was also Dongguan’s vice mayor, was removed from his posts for dereliction of duty, Xinhua said, quoting Communist Party officials in Guangdong Province.
“Yan’s dereliction of duty led to the persistent illegal sex trade in Dongguan, which has reflected very badly on the city, both domestically and internationally,” Xinhua reported, citing a party statement.
It added that another seven Dongguan officials were also sacked in relation to the case.
Almost 1,000 people have been detained in a sting operation involving thousands of police in Dongguan.
China’s main state broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), aired a half-hour report last Sunday chronicling what appeared to be extensive and open prostitution in five towns across Dongguan.
The CCTV report was widely watched across China and sparked extensive comment on social media, with many people criticizing the government for targeting the sex workers themselves rather than the powerful business interests believed to be behind the trade.
The party’s official People’s Daily took aim at the criticism and calls to legalize the sex trade on Friday, saying in a commentary that prostitution was a “blasphemy against civilization.”
The Dongguan region has long been known as a center for the sex industry.