“Chinese Schoolgirl” by ~Voluminus
Around 20 girls under the age of 18, including two under the age of 14, have had a prostitution ring of their own making uncovered in Shanghai’s Zhabei district, after a customer who had his watch stolen reported the ring to local authorities.
The ring was started by three of the participating girls, who filled their ranks by laying the stone-cold mack on friends and classmates to hustle/make dat money with them.
Why, you ask, would girls still quite physically and mentally immature decide to join the world’s oldest profession of their own volition? Apparently the primary motivation was the need for extra pocket money, according to a prosecutor involved in the case.
Johns were sought out online whenever the girls needed money, and were serviced out of several well-known hotel chains, including Motel 168, Home Inn, and Jinjiang Inn (with borrowed ID’s used for registering), with some dates costing customers up to 1000RMB per session.
Shanghai Daily reports that some girls involved in the ring came from families with “decent economic backgrounds”:
“To me, it’s not even realistic or worthwhile to study hard, go to university and have a decent job,” said one suspect, a vocational school student nicknamed Xiao Wen. “I don’t want to be a normal worker like my parents, living a hard life to earn money.”
She told prosecutors that she fell into the business because she believed it was the fastest way to earn money.
“I didn’t mean to drag my friends into trouble. They all love to do the job because our parents never give us enough pocket money to spend, but money is needed in every way,” she said.
The girls also claim they were unaware their salacious soliciting was actually illegal. Since you know, they were so busy studying all the time to ever look up and see a news report featuring busted prostitutes averting their faces from the camera.
Will someone please think of the children?!
The commentary for this is probably going to skew towards the usual directions.
Materialistic post-90’s children with no moral fiber and self-esteem issues going through a rebellion/cry for help/slumming phase, at once deserving of scorn and also victims of either families or a society that spoiled them incessantly (while at the same time unable to talk openly about sex or love), are now whoring themselves for clothes and phones. Oh the ennui, the emptiness, the product lust!
Whether it’s sleeping with men for Apple Baubles, acting out sex-as-humiliation rituals, or hooking up with the first white guy that buys them a drink, the generation born after 1990 consistently sends shockwaves through the Chinese internet with accounts of their debauchery and lack of “traditional” values, like modesty and keeping one’s legs shut.
Some will argue that the girls are merely mimicking women a few years older than them, as well as the massive glut of media messages, that tell them they have to use sex to ensure their future financial comfort and security, and that the straight and narrow path is for losers.
In defense of whoring yourself for pocket money
We, however, are loathe to hate on the girls too much, since there’ll be so much spite trotting around the weibosphere this week. And plus, we’ve already said a bit about the link between capitalism and child sexualization.
Instead, we’ll just say that the girls are probably the vanguard of a future when prostitution will become entirely necessary in China, to keep men left wifeless by the gender imbalance from going crazy and becoming seriously unharmonious. It’ll hearken back to the days when the Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted in America, and wizened old Chinatown men could only fulfill their needs by visiting houses of ill repute, after women and families were barred from entering the country.
You could also shrug and just say the girls are simply a manifestation of the Shanghai (and China’s) economic and spiritual virility. We can’t remember where we read it, but a Marx-esque line had it that capitalism brought with it an increase in beggars and prostitutes. So if anything, the girls are a sign (the same with restaurants being full and crowded) that economic growth rate is still is humming along at a high RPM.
We think it’s pretty much a meibanfa situation, since you can’t just abruptly change the fundamental patterns of the day. Situations like teenage prostitution rings might just have to be chalked up as inevitable casualties of economic growth, in the same way some might accept that massacres by lone gunmen at schools or malls are the unavoidable cost of the right to bear arms.
By the way, we think it’ll be interesting to see how this story resonates in light of the fact that prostitutes are heroes in the new Zhang Yimou film, The Flowers of War (starring Christian Bale), and volunteer to go in the place of schoolgirls, after Japanese troops requested the company of virginal playthings during the Rape of Nanking. It’s quite the significant shift in culture, now that schoolgirls and xiaojie’s have become one and the same.