an anonymous police official was quoted by the Guangzhou-based newspaper New
Express as saying the police had not broken any laws with the controversial
"Only the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has the right
to respond in connection with the concerned legal
clauses," the officer was quoted as saying.
The spokesman of the Shenzhen Police Bureau told China Daily yesterday that
the bureau would soon release an official response to the incident.
The municipal government of this southern city declined to provide a formal
"The police have submitted materials to the government, but we have no
comment now," said a government spokesman.
The controversy started last Wednesday when Shenzhen police arrested 100
prostitutes, pimps and their
clients, including at least 10 Hong Kong residents, during an anti-vice raid.
The officers dressed the alleged offenders in bright yellow T-shirts and masks
and paraded them on the streets.
Police also read their names, ages and places of origin out to the public.
The parade attracted more than 1,000 spectators, who applauded.
However, wide media coverage of the incident sparked widespread public
concern over whether the police had violated the privacy and human rights of the
people they had arrested.
Shanghai lawyer Yao Jianguo published a petition to the Standing Committe of
National People's Congress on an Internet forum on Sunday, claiming the action
was illegal and would negatively affect the reputation of the Chinese Government
within the international community.
In his petition, Yao said the suspects could be punished only after being
judged guilty in court. He noted that the arrested people had not yet been sent
About 70 per cent of the 150,000 people who responded to a survey on sina.com
said they opposed the actions taken by Shenzhen police.
"These people may have done something wrong, but their dignity should have
been reserved," said one netizen.
Some local citizens said they doubted that the parade was necessary.
"The police were staging a show. They should find ways to root out the illegal sex industry instead of
spending their time parading prostitutes," said Zheng Yan, an employee of an
However, residents from the neighbourhoods near where the raid took place
said they supported the police.
"This is the only way these cheeky prostitutes and their clients will learn.
People from outside the neighbourhood can not imagine how the quality of our
lives has deteriorated because of these nuisances," said a recent graduate
surnamed Cao who rents an apartment in the area.