China's high-profile nationwide campaign against prostitution, with a roster spanning 26 cities, seems to have given Shanghai a miss. The obvious oversight is giving rise to speculations that the local police want to keep a low profile for visitors during the World Expo this year.
China Daily quoted Zhu Xiaoding, a Beijing-based attorney who has been following the campaign, as saying that Shanghai authorities want to downplay the arrests to appear more tolerant of these vices for occasionally indulgent overseas visitors.
"Prostitution is legal in many countries outside of China, over-emphasis upon an anti-prostitution campaign might hurt the image of Shanghai as an international city in the eyes of foreign visitors," he added.
Anti-prostitution campaigns elsewhere have been topping media headlines since May 2010. Beijing police took the lead in cracking down on four high-end nightclubs including the famous Passion Nightclub.
This was followed by a series of similar crackdowns over the following two months. By July 20, Beijing police had broken up some 240 prostitution rings and detained more than 150 people who trafficked, forced, lured or otherwise introduced women into prostitution.
Authorities in Dongguan, Guangdong province have nabbed almost 1,200 suspects.