News reports in recent days have listed participating provinces, including Gansu, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong and Sichuan.
One report, for example, said 6,500 police officers had been involved in a crackdown on prostitution, gambling and drug use in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. The crackdown began on February 10, and 335 people have been arrested on charges related to the three vices, the report said.
In Harbin, the frigid capital of Heilongjiang Province in northeast China, more than 4,800 police officers checked more than 2,700 locations and detained at least 27 people, according to one news report.
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Prostitution is common across China, where many hotels offer sex for pay, and hair salons and massage parlors often serve as fronts for brothels.
When police officers do round up prostitutes, they might detain them for long periods in systems of extralegal punishment, including one called "custody and education," in which those held are forced to do labor.
People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, has been publishing editorials and commentaries supporting the crackdown. One published on Thursday ran under the headline "The boundary of right and wrong should not be blurred." The next day, the newspaper ran a similar opinion piece with the headline "The bottom line of civilization must not be profaned."
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The essay went on to say: "Any healthy society, while having a diverse range of ideas, should have some basic bottom line, some common sense and value. Liberation of thinking doesn't mean having wild ideas, and it also doesn't mean an indulgence of behavior."
During the crackdown, some officials have been dismissed or forced to apologize for their lack of vigilance. On Friday, the official news agency Xinhua reported that Yan Xiaokang, the police chief of Dongguan and a deputy mayor, had been dismissed from his job, and that officials were opening an investigation into his actions.
Other senior police officers have also been dismissed. Party chiefs in four towns in the Dongguan area have issued public apologies.