China’s WeChat blocks ‘shady’ sugar daddy service
China’s top social media app WeChat has banned the “SeekingArrangement” dating website, popularly known as the ‘sugar daddy” app, following criticism from state media that said it was a front for prostitution.
It became one of the most downloaded applications in three days earlier this week following which it came under critical scrutiny from state media.
“Authorities in Shanghai have launched a probe into a company registered in the city that developed a mobile application providing dating services which allegedly sexualize and exploit women,” the nationalistic Global Times tabloid carried a report on it under the headline “Mobile app under investigation for providing shady dating service”.
On Monday, the Global Times revealed that a company received a licence in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone and launched an app called SeekingArrangement on both iOS and Android platforms in China.
“Infamous for connecting wealthy older men with young women online and sometimes referred to as a “sugar daddy” app, SeekingArrangement entered the country in 2015 with a Chinese language site and apps,” the newspaper reported.
The app asks its male members to list their financial status during registration — annual income starting from 300,000 yuan ($47,350), and net assets from 600,000 yuan, though the company said it doesn’t require any bank documents for verification.
Yi Shenghua, a criminal lawyer, told the state media that services provided by such websites, though disguised as dating or matchmaking can be classified as organising or sheltering prostitution, and the website’s founder and operator could face criminal charges, depending on the amount of cash traded and the number of people involved.
A Reuters report said the app, launched in the United States in 2006, puts young women in touch with rich older men. “At SA, we pride ourselves on helping you find the ultimate generous Sugar Daddy. Bills paid, gifts galore, and top-shelf fun,” the report quoted its US website as saying.
“Our Chinese product is exclusively developed for the local market and would definitely abide by the law here,” an unnamed employee at SeekingArrangement told China Daily.
He said that the Chinese website and applications are designed as a premium platform that functions like any other legal dating site in China. The only difference would be that it targets “successful men of high quality and fine taste”.
Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in more than a century, a result of its further alienation from the global financial system following West-led sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine. “There is money and there is also the readiness to pay," Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov said last month. “This situation, artificially created by an unfriendly country, will not have any effect on Russians' quality of life.”
The war in Ukraine could allow illegal drug production to flourish, while the opium market's future hinges on the fate of crisis-wracked Afghanistan, the United Nations warned Monday.
Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday slammed the country's former government - led by Imran Khan - for its failure to implement the National Action Plan against terrorism. Slamming the Pakistani prime minister, Khan - during a meeting - reportedly referred to the rise in terrorism-related incidents during the last four years, against the backdrop of a 56 percent surge in the number of terror attacks in 2021.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is set to make his first international trips since ordering the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year. Putin will be visiting Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, reported news agency Reuters, citing local media, adding that the Russian president will also meet Indonesian president Joko Widodo for talks in Moscow post the two visits.
Places including U.S. states that have legalized cannabis appear to have increased its regular use, while COVID lockdowns had a similar effect, raising the risk of depression and suicide, a U.N. report said on Monday. Various U.S. states have legalized non-medical use of cannabis, starting with Washington and Colorado in 2012. Uruguay legalized it in 2013, as did Canada in 2018. Others have taken similar steps but the report focused on those three countries.