China's government has called for an end to the public humiliation of criminal suspects following online complaints about the parading of prostitutes.
State media said Tuesday that the Ministry of Public Security has banned the practice, long used by local officials to shame suspected criminals. The ministry ordered police to respect the rights of criminal suspects and use correct methods of law enforcement.
The order follows persistent online complaints about the so-called shame parades, which have most often been used to humiliate prostitutes.
The complaints began this month after the publication of a photograph showing a barefoot and handcuffed woman being led by a rope through a street of Dongguan in southern Guangdong province.
Prostitution is widespread in China even though it is illegal. Local authorities conduct periodic crackdowns on suspected sex workers, including public parades aimed at deterring them from repeating the offense.
But participants in Internet forums argue that many prostitutes are simply trying to support their families in their home villages. One wrote of sex workers who donated generously to victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.