So, James starts as he means to go on:
Turning down an after-dinner invite to a brothel is always a social minefield.
Some of this may be a thing of the past, at least for officials. Before this year, periodic crackdowns on the sex trade would close down businesses for a couple of weeks or months, before all went back to business as normal. The ongoing purge of officials and “anti-corruption campaign” under President Xi Jinping, however, has put a freeze on what was once standard business practice. The fall of many high-level leaders has been accompanied by recitations of their moral failings, especially their keeping of mistresses. While shared brothel visits were once the norm, officials, especially policemen, are now terrified to be seen at clubs, KTVs, or even expensive restaurants.
...Reaching out to contacts in Chengdu, Chongqing, Tangshan, Shijiazhuang, and Harbin I found the same story: officials were terrified of being seen at establishments where they had previously been welcome guests. A long-established business norm was now, at least for anyone with ties to the government, a dangerous hobby. But what had drawn them there in the first place?