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On the Road in China: Prostitution, Religion Rise

A small Protestant church along Route 312 in rural China.
Rob Gifford, NPR
/
A small Protestant church along Route 312 in rural China.
Many prostitutes work out of karaoke bars or, like this 25-year-old woman, out of hair salons that have a very basic room behind them in which they see clients.
Rob Gifford, NPR /
/
Many prostitutes work out of karaoke bars or, like this 25-year-old woman, out of hair salons that have a very basic room behind them in which they see clients.

Heading further west across China, the prevalence of prostitution is inescapable. For many young women, it's the only way to make a living in the impoverished center of the country. With the arrival of capitalism, many state-owned enterprises vanished, taking jobs with them.

But with the erosion of communist influence there also is an explosion in religion, and many small Christian churches can be found along Route 312.

In the third of seven reports on his 3,000-mile journey across China, NPR's Rob Gifford reports on the resurgence of prostitution -- and religion -- in the world's most populous nation.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rob Gifford
Rob Gifford is the NPR foreign correspondent based in Shanghai.