CHINA> Regional
Illegal karaoke bars shut down in S China city
By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-11 10:35

DONGGUAN: Middle-aged mother Wei Huating in this Pearl River Delta boomtown is happy to find that her 17-year-old son stays at home at night these days instead of going out to the karaoke (KTV) bars nearby.

"He used to spend almost every night at the KTV bars with his friends, which I really worried about," she told China Daily Monday. "I appreciate the local government's recent move to close down the unlicensed KTV bars."

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She heard on several occasions that many of the KTV bars are unlicensed and may be prone to fires.

"I learned from my neighbors that some KTV bar operators have tried to lure customers with prostitution and even by selling drugs," she said.

"That's why my son's frequent visits there had worried me a lot."

Government departments should have taken action much earlier and should keep on the alert against their possible comeback, she said.

In a special campaign launched by the government of Dongguan in June, the government uncovered more than 330 unlicensed KTV bars and similar recreational facilities, and shut down more than 200 of them.

More than 100 of them, which have met the standard for license application, have been urged to apply for the license to resume operation.

Those suspected to have allowed prostitution or sold drugs have been closed down permanently.

Those not up to standard have been urged to make improvements as required and then apply for a license.

The township governments and the departments of cultural administration, industrial and commercial administration, and police and fire prevention of the city joined in the campaign, which ended recently.

"The government has set up a long-term mechanism to deal with the unlicensed KTV bars and the like," said an official with the municipal public security bureau, who identified himself as Lin.

"We will confiscate the equipment of the bars that dare to resume operation without getting a license beforehand and shut off their power supply," Lin said. "We will clamp down on any unlicensed KTV bar."

The huge population of migrant workers and business people in Dongguan, a major manufacturing hub in China, creates a large market for recreational facilities, according to Liu Dongjian, a lecturer of sociology with Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University.

Some of them, especially those owned by organized crime, naturally rely on porn or drugs for securing business, he added.