The Nanfang / Blog

Dongguan’s Sex Trade Is Back

Posted: 10/24/2014 9:00 am

A woman walks past a banner that reads, “crack down on prostitution, gambling and drugs”.

Dongguan’s sex trade has proven to be more resilient than originally thought. The city, which has been targeted in a large-scale sweep over the past eight months, appears to have its mojo back.

Sixty people were arrested following raids on two of the city’s “entertainment venues” on Houjie Street: Junhao Hotel KTV and Dongcheng Shengshi Gechao KTV, both of which were offering sexual services. Their business licenses have already been suspended for six months.

The arrests come just two months after the city’s massage parlours, saunas, and hotels reopened for business after a massive clean-up, which followed CCTV’s exposé on the city’s rampant sex trade in mid-February. It alleged that the sex-trade contributed 10 percent to the city’s GDP.

Since being allowed to reopen, 2,684 entertainment operators, or 80 percent of the city’s entertainment businesses, have signed a pledge promising not to provide services related to gambling, drugs and prostitution.

In July, Guangdong province also introduced a series of detailed new regulations aimed at prohibiting the “vice trade”, including banning dim lights and private rooms. Evidently, the measures have proven to be of little use.

Photos: SCMP



Staying in a Chinese Hotel? Be Careful, the Linens Could Be Dangerous

Posted: 08/28/2014 3:20 pm

underground laundry dalian undercoverIt’s the most basic requirement when staying at a hotel: a nice, comfy bed to sleep in. The bed may be hard and it may be small, but there’s one thing that is not debatable: the bed must be clean.

Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case. Some hotels have tried to cut corners by enlisting the use of underground, non-certified laundromats to help them wash their linen. CCTV, the state-run broadcaster, went undercover in the dark world of hotel laundry and found these underground laundromats operate in unhygienic conditions and use chemical compounds so harsh they could be dangerous to the unlucky people who use them.

A reporter used a hidden camera to document a visit to one such facility in Dalian. The reporter said there were no signs or identifying features out front that marked the building as home to a laundromat. When he walked inside, he saw piles of laundry strewn all over the floor, with dirty water running throughout parts of the factory.

underground laundry dalian undercover

A closer look at the operations of the underground laundry showed numerous health and safety infractions. There were unmarked vats next to the washing machines containing white powder, later revealed to be strong acids and sodas used to clean the laundry.

These compounds include hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypoclorite, oxalic acid, and caustic soda, according to an industry insider who wanted to remain anonymous. He confirmed use of the dangerous chemicals is common.

underground laundry dalian undercover

An industry insider spoke said the powerful chemicals makes his job a lot easier:

It holds strong acids and bases along with strong bleaches; using these makes for easy washing done fast. In order to clean faster for whiter whites, these compounds are required. It’s awesome using these things; we (the workers) feel as though we’re using a nuclear bomb.

The compounds are not used in conjunction with any neutralizing agent to counteract their potency. Direct contact with skin from some of these compounds can lead to itching, reddening, or even an allergic reaction.

underground laundry dalian undercover

If your skin doesn’t come into contact with harsh chemicals while in a hotel, it could come into contact with dirty laundry instead. The reporter found some items aren’t cleaned at all; if it looks clean and is white, it’s simply ironed and repackaged.

Another practice is to indiscriminately mix laundry taken from a hospital with those taken from a hotel and wash them all together.

Those inside the facility say these practices are to make sure the laundry is as white as it can be, while cleanliness comes second.

underground laundry dalian undercoverunderground laundry dalian undercover

Photos: CCTV News

h/t @MissXQ


Hotels And Universities In List Of Guangzhou’s Unsafe Public Pools

Posted: 08/5/2014 2:36 pm

swimming poolSome folks like to ease their way into a pool bit by bit, but you may not even want to dip your toe in when you hear this news: over 30% of Guangzhou’s public pools do not meet public safety criteria.

The Guangzhou Department of Health posted its results after testing city pools in May and June. Of the 366 pools tested, 254 passed regulations and have good water quality. However, 112 pools, or 30.6% of the total, do not comply with city regulations, reports Guangzhou Live. The report, unfortunately, does not name all of the unsafe pools, but it does mention a couple of them.

There are seven Guangzhou universities that have public pools with unsafe water quality: Huanan Normal University, Guangzhou University, Huanan Engineering University, Guangzhou Art College, Guangdong Engineering College, Guangzhou Chinese Medical University, and Sun Yat-Sen University. Furthermore, all of these pools save for the first two (Huanan Normal University and Guangzhou University) have been on the city’s blacklist for years.

Guangzhou hotels with unsafe pools include Guangzhou Haili Garden Hotel, Guangzhou Ramada Pearl Hotel, Guangdong Xingang Pearl Hotel, Guangzhou Chateau Star River Hotel, and Guangdong Victor Hotel.

As well, Guangzhou public school pools with dangerous water include Haizhu District Nanwu Experimental School, No. 6 Middle Dchool, Huangpu District No. 86 Middle School, and Nansha No. 1 Middle School.

The top three contaminants are urine, bacteria, and chlorine particles.

Photo: Guangzhou Live


Hotel Rooms at St Regis in Shenzhen Easy Prey for Hackers

Posted: 07/21/2014 12:52 pm

St.-Regis-ShenzhenNow that basic household appliances are being built with wireless capabilities, it goes without saying that they can be targets of hackers. That appears to be the case at one upscale Shenzhen Hotel.

Security vulnerabilities in an iPad-operated digital “butler” application at the Shenzhen St Regis Hotel easily allows hackers to control any of the rooms’ thermostat, lights, blinds, and TV.

Wired published a report that detailed the findings of Jesus Molina, who stayed at the St Regis Shenzhen last year and was able to discover and exploit the service’s security vulnerabilities. Molina found that the iPads provided to every room were running an old communication protocol called KNX that was running unencrypted. Molina stayed for two days and changed to four different rooms in order to investigate further.

“I could have changed every channel in every room so everybody could watch soccer with me, but I didn’t,” he said. However, Molina was able to make the “Do Not Disturb” lights outside the rooms on his floor to blink like a heartbeat.

Molina will be sharing his findings with the Black Hat security conference in August. He also shared his discovery with the hotel’s chief of security, who acknowledged the problem and said they are working to solve it.

st regis shenzhen


Photo: My Fancy House, Trip Advisor


No More Free Toothbrushes and Other Toiletries at Guangzhou Hotels

Posted: 07/17/2014 2:28 pm

hotel disposable itemsFree slippers, shower hats, toothbrushes and even soap may be as rare as a free lunch in the future. Disposable hotel toiletries will no longer be offered for free in Guangzhou hotels in order to cut down on garbage, reports the Southern Daily.

Guangzhou is currently deliberating a policy which will encourage the use of reusuable items in order to reduce the impact on the environment. Yin Ziyong, department head of the municipal management works committee, explained the policy:

This is to promote regulations. Guangzhou’s hotel industry has traditionally gifted (its guests) with with six complimentary items. Following the development of society and economy, many clients have brought up environment-saving measures used by international hotels in which guests are to pay for these complimentary products. Right now, we are soliciting different parties for their perspectives. It is to promote the reduction of disposable items, and is not an inflexible policy to be uniformly applied.

Photo: Alibaba


Dongguan Hotels Suffering, Occupancy Down 90% After Sex Crackdown

Posted: 04/25/2014 9:14 am

More than two months into Dongguan’s sex trade crackdown, the once bustling city is currently suffering from dwindling visitor numbers and a tepid hotel business that used to generate RMB 300 million ($48 million) in revenues annually, Time Weekly reported on April 24.

Visitors at Houjie, one of the main red light districts in Dongguan, have dropped 50 to 60 percent since the February crackdown, said one cab driver surnamed Li. Meanwhile, a downtown center in Houjie called Kangle Nan Lu has seen an 80 to 90 percent drop in visitor traffic. Li estimated that at least 80,000 people have left the town after the crackdown.

One person associated with a 5-star hotel in Houjie said, “The hotel business has entered a cold winter.” The city’s number of 5-star hotels is the third largest nationally after Beiing and Shanghai, but the crackdown has put a brake on investments towards its hotels.

Another reason Dongguan hotels are expecting more lean times is due to the government clampdown on extravagant government spending. Five-star hotels were often the venue on which government officials splurged public spending on lavish meals.

Despite government’s hardline stance on the sex trade, some brave souls have managed to keep the old business afloat. One person called Ah Jing still ferries prostitutes to different hotels. Currently managing 15 prostitutes, Ah Jing drives the xiaojie to the customer’s hotel for the special service.

It is hard to predict how long the aftermath of the crackdown is going to effect the city. However, it seems the effect is continuing to ripple wider and wider at the same time the city is also battling dwindled export figures as the country’s economy slows.

Home page photo: China News 


New Four Seasons Shenzhen lures guests with iPad Minis and Nespresso

Posted: 10/4/2013 7:00 pm

The Four Seasons hotel chain has opened its latest China offering in Shenzhen with 266 rooms and suites, according to the hotel. Perhaps in an attempt to stand out from the crowd, it is offering iPad Minis on which the guest directory can be accessed, and “rooms also offer Nespresso [coffee] machines.”

However, it is unclear whether guests will be able to use the iPad Minis for other purposes, such as web browsing and maps services, and whether the devices will be available in all 266 rooms. It certainly seems viable, and would be a move that would likely go down well with guests.

More generally, the new branch is a clear sign that the company expects the city’s growth and relevance to remain strong going forward, citing its hi-tech and electronics industry as well as its place as one of the country’s major banking and financial centres. It also notes that UNESCO lists Shenzhen as the “City of Design.”

The new Four Seasons will be “within walking distance of… the Civic Centre” and is “located in the heart of the vibrant new downtown within just ten minutes’ drive of the Huanggang and Futian borders to Hong Kong,” according to a press release.

Now, does anyone want to wager how long it will be before somebody tries to checkout with an iPad Mini shoved in their briefcase?

Photo credit: Four Seasons


Shenzhen’s Futian District to get an RMB20 billion makeover

Posted: 08/20/2013 5:42 pm

Shenzhen’s Futian District is set to have a new 20 billion yuan (US$3.27 billion) development that will include high-end apartments, a shopping centre, a research and development centre, and a new Mandarin Oriental hotel.

The new plan put forward by Shum Yip Land, a commercial property subsidiary of Shenzhen Investment (a part-government owned group), will be due for completion in 2017, and represents a substantial new addition to Futian’s rapidly developing district — a popular expat area in the city.

The new residential project covering nearly 800,000 square meters of floor area will be called UpperHills. The development is expected to bolster growth in the entire area, with other commercial properties and projects set to benefit from the huge investment plans.

“This development will comprise office towers, a residential complex, significant retail and extensive outdoor space and parkland, and will become the premier lifestyle destination for the local community and the Southern China district. Shum Yip’s UpperHills is located minutes away from Futian Central Business District, the financial centre of the city, and is close to the main custom and immigration checkpoint to Hong Kong,” according to a breaking press release from Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group today.

The news will certainly be welcomed by Futian’s current residents, of which there were an estimated 885,000 in the 2002 census. That number is no doubt significantly larger today. Futian is sometimes known among locals as “the living hub of Shenzhen,” a name it earned due to its heavy emphasis on residential areas.

Peter Kok Kai-lam, deputy general manager of Shum Yip, shared more details of the development plans in an interview with the South China Morning Post today.

Kok said the final project will have a gross floor area of 1.12 million square meters. Meanwhile, sales will begin on the 650 residential apartments within two months, each of which is sized between 106-450 square meters. Clearly there will also be a range of prices to suit different buyers.

The shopping centre, which Kok has said will target “young people, in the 25-35 age group, along with high-end buyers,” will cover 167,000 square meters. A cinema and food court are also planned.

Kok said that one of the towers will be used as “A grade office space” due to high demand, and expected that technology companies and multinational firms would show strong interest.

For more details on what to expect from the new Mandarin Oriental, check out its official press release. Already known is that it will offer 173 deluxe rooms and 17 suites, including one presidential suite, covering a total floor area of 45,000 square meters.

Photo credit: dcmaster, Flickr


College entrance exams = big business for hotel & health food industries

Posted: 06/6/2012 7:00 am

Annual college entrance examinations, commonly known as the “gaokao”, kick-off tomorrow throughout the PRD. While most students face their exams with a sense of dread, not everyone is frowning. Where there’s a yuan to be made, businesses won’t be far behind, and student examinations are no exception. Yet according to a report in the Nan Fang Daily, the real money isn’t in tutoring and preparatory classes as one might expect, it’s in hotel rooms and nutritional supplements.

The hotel industry is making a pretty penny renting hotel rooms to studying students, charging upwards of 1000RMB per night. As the gaokao lasts two days, most parents have booked rooms for their children for three consecutive nights, while some parents have gone so far as to book several rooms to accommodate the whole family, presumably for moral support.

The growing trend has become so common that many Shenzhen hotels were booked solid months in advance. One Shenzhen mother looking  for a “gaokao room” for her son vented her frustration on Weibo: “My son is taking the college entrance examination. He asked me to book him a hotel room near his exam but after searching all morning I’m unable to find him one. All of the rooms have been booked.”

While hotels have been quick to capitalize on the recent trend, competition within the industry has become fierce. To attract students, several hotels have introduced promotions such as room discounts, free midnight snacks, breakfast, and shuttle service to and from exams. One Longgang hotel even offers a 2B pencil (official pencil of the exam), and sharpener.

Hotels aren’t the only industry capitalizing on the exams; the health food industry is also onboard. Nutritional supplements to improve the immune system and enhance memory, such as DHA and fish oil, are big business come exam time. According to one pharmacist, sales of these supplements have more than doubled in the last month.

Whether any of the remedies actually work is highly debatable. According to Zhang Maoxiang, director of the Shenzhen Hospital of Nutrition, “These types of health care products have been found to delay the onset of cerebral arteriosclerosis and dementia in the elderly. Memory may have a supporting role, but there is no evidence that it can improve cognition, memory or the ability of young candidates to think.”

To those students unable to reserve a hotel room, or get their hands on fancy supplements, we at The Nanfang (for what it’s worth) recommend a strong cup of chamomile tea and a good night’s sleep.

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