Regulating private affairs in contemporary China: Private investigators and the policing of spousal infidelity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
China Information, 2010, 24 (2), pp. 149 - 167
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This article examines the recent emergence of China's private investigation industry, focusing on investigators of spousal infidelity. It outlines the professed business rationales of private investigators that target women experiencing marital crises, including claims that they provide a necessary social service, protect women's rights, promote anti-corruption measures, and uphold Chinese law. It also details growing criticisms of China's "infidelity sleuths" for violating Chinese law and citizens' rights. Finally, the article examines some of the proposed responses to the problems associated with private investigators and the policing of infidelity. The demand for such services highlights the laissez-faire position that economic reform has increasingly forced China's governmental authorities to assume with regard to regulating the private affairs of Chinese citizens. © The Author(s) 2010.
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