Now that I have your interest, let’s talk China law.

The China Daily has an article entitled, Tighter rules on bath houses, massage parlors (h/t to China Digital Times), discussing draft rules for bath houses to combat China’s “growing sex trade.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce released draft rules last week that will “require bath houses with massage rooms to be viewed openly from the outside. Foot-massage parlors must have their cubicle doors unlocked when attending clients.” These draft rules are on the ministry’s website and are open to public comment until September 10. The ostensible purpose for these rules is to “combat the spread sexually transmitted diseases:”

Commerce and health authorities are determined to combat the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in public places. Earlier last month, the commerce and health authorities ordered all hotels, resorts and public bath houses in the country to provide condom-dispensing machines.

Bath houses and massage parlors “will be ranked every two years on their standards” and those falling short of the new standards “will be ordered to shut down.” Some see the new rules as lifting standards in “the industry,” but (as is true of so many rules in China) it is not yet clear how strictly they will be enforced:

“The new rules will lift service standards of the industry and ensure customers enjoy good service,” a manager surnamed Zhou of a bath house in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, said.

But Zhou also questioned whether the health and commerce authorities have the necessary staff to inspect all bath and massages facilities in the country and crackdown on the substandard ones.

Is this part of China’s overall safety efforts? Is it part of Beijing’s efforts to assume greater control? Or is this just a bureaucratic effort unlikely to have any teeth? Or is it something else entirely? We China lawyers want to know.