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Book Review

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Review of Elaine Jeffreys, Prostitution Scandals in China: Policy, Media and Society Publisher: London; New York: Routledge, 2012.

Prostitution endures to be a contentious topic which has always attracted public, policy and prurient interest (Maher, 2013). Bringing together seven prostitution-related scandals in People's Republic of China (PRC) highlighted by the media since the 1990s, the volume seeks to display the milieu of prostitution and demonstrate the nexus between the rampant phenomenon, the role of media and the impact of social control in reform-era China.

In the opening of Prostitution Scandals in China: Policy, Media and Society, Elaine Jefferys negates/controverts the notion that prostitution is a taboo topic of media reportage in present-day China. She identifies the rise and wide diversity of public debates and discussions on the subject of prostitution which, she argues, has impacted public policy concerning prostitution control and enhanced accountability of officials and institutions in recent years (p.19). Prior to the detailed appraisal of scandals in relation to forced prostitution, youth prostitution, male-male prostitution, penalizing male buyers of sex, police corruption, policing excesses and public health intervention, Jefferys traces the revival of prostitution in reform-era China and provides an overview on the evolution of China’s model of regulating prostitution and the development of mass media. She has drawn the attention to the change of media coverage of prostitution-related issues in China from 'reiterating the Party Line', 'recounting of singular historical events or providing sensational stories for profit' to covering a broad range of issues, such as 'social vulnerability, law and order, civil rights, sexual exploitation, child and youth protection, homosexuality, government corruption, police malfeasance and public health', resulting in changes to domestic prostitution laws and approaches to regulating the sex...