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The End of Cheap China, Revised and Updated: Economic and Cultural Trends That Will Disrupt the World by Shaun Rein

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CHAPTER 6UNDERSTANDING CORRUPTION IN CHINA WHAT CHINA’S UNDERGROUND SEX TRADE SHOWS ABOUT ITS GOVERNMENT

I was showing my good friend, Jack, who was visiting China from the United States, around Shanghai. I hadn’t seen Jack in more than a decade, since our boarding school days at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, and it was great seeing him again. Jack is one of those incredibly brilliant people whose talent causes your jaw to drop. He started a hedge fund, runs marathons, and speaks five different languages.

As we walked down the street, he kept blurting out, “There’s one, and another one!” He was pointing at the beauty salons with their pink-neon-lit interiors. Inside each one sat dozens of middle-aged, bloated women wearing cheap makeup. The necklines of their tight shirts plunged low, exposing their propped-up cleavage and giving them the appearance of overstuffed, raw sausages.

“I can’t believe there are so many brothels!” Jack continued, his brow wrinkling. “How can prostitution be so open?” he asked as he pointed at the elementary school less than 20 yards away on the corner. He found it especially odd because he had read in the news that the Chinese government was holding a morality campaign to crack down on prostitution and pornography. “Wasn’t there that college professor in Nanjing that just got busted for organizing orgies online?” He was baffled that there could be such blatant flouting of the law in what he assumed would be a tightly controlled authoritarian ...

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