July 22, 2010

This is a bit embarrassing. China’s National Tourism Administration has stripped the Chongquing Hilton of its official five-star rating for unspecified actions that “seriously harmed the image of China’s star-rated hotels and created a bad influence on society.”

In other words, the hotel was hosting prostitutes and has now lost its stars and does not currently have a rating.

Chinese media reported in June that the hotel was shut down by police for links to prostitution and other illegal activities, some involving hotel shareholders.

Interestingly, China is generally pretty slack in dealing with sex workers and the practice of facilitating prostitution in hotels is widespread across China.

The Wall Street Journal hypothesizes that the Hilton shutdown may simply have been the result of a routine raid that the Chinese authority routinely carry out to keep a facade of law enforcement, which in this case spiraled into a media circus, requiring some public action by the central government.

The other possibile explanation is that the Hilton’s public shaming is part of a new campaign against organized crime and prostitution by Community party chief Bo Xilai.

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