Criminal Law Article 236 puts the minimum age of sexual consent at fourteen years. Under this article, having sex with a girl younger than fourteen is considered rape regardless of whether the victim consented. Whoever commits this offense will be given a heavier punishment within the range of punishments for rape. [Source: Library of Congress Law Library, Legal Legal Reports, 2019 |*|]

Indecent assault against a woman’s will, or by force, may result in up to five years imprisonment. If the offence happens in public, the sentence may be over five years. Sodomy committed against minors under fourteen years old may result in heavier punishment in the above mentioned range of punishments. |*|

Prostitution is illegal but practiced openly. Until 2001, homosexuality was classified in China as a mental illness. Today, although not illegal — it was decriminalized in 1997 — it is also not encouraged by the authorities.

Websites and Sources: USA Today piece ; Sex Incidents in China ; Sex Industry ; Chinese sex toy maker lacyshaki.en ; Books: “Sexual Life of Ancient China”, written by Robert van Gulik in the 1920s; “The Illustrated Handbook of Chinese Sex History” by Professor Liu Dalin and “Sex China Studies in Sexology in Chinese Culture” by Fang-ju Juan, The Sexology Research Institute of China is at People's University in Beijing. Sex History and Literature Ancient Sex Culture ; Chinese Sex Literature ; Sex in Ancient China Book Review Prostitution in China : Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Shanghaiist blog ; Homosexuality in China History of Gay life in China

History of Sex Legislation in China

Fang-fu Ruan wrote in “Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia”: For much of China's history, the government was generally lax in enforcing laws pertaining to sexual behavior. Not until the 12th century, in the Song Dynasty, did the government begin to develop a consistent policy of exercising control over the sexual life of the people, and official constraints on sexual expression developed into a pervasive cultural conservatism. By the beginning of the Ming dynasty, repressive institutions and policies were firmly in place, and continued to be in force throughout the Ming and Ching dynasties. Thus, for example, writing about and publicly discussing sex were forbidden. Strict censorship and other controls persisted after the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912. [Source: Fang-fu Ruan“Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia”, Haeberle, Erwin J., Bullough, Vern L. and Bonnie Bullough, eds.,]

“The only sexual behavior acknowledged to be legally and morally permissible is heterosexual intercourse within monogamous marriage. Every imaginable variation is explicitly proscribed: prostitution, polygamy, premarital and extramarital intercourse (including cohabitation arrangements), homosexuality, and variant sexual behavior are all illegal. Because sexual expression is viewed with contempt as the least important activity of life, not only are pornography and nudity banned, but any social activity with sexual implications — such as dancing — may be subject to restrictions. Even marriage is given little consideration. Thus, China's official prudishness and restrictiveness are unrelieved by any appreciation of individual happiness or romantic love.

“But, beginning in the late 1970s, the increased tolerance of nonmarital cohabitation in the West began to influence China's younger generation. College students and young intellectuals in particular were attracted to this lifestyle. Some of the younger or more open-minded sociologists also asserted the necessity of overcoming the disadvantages of traditional marriage. Actually practicing cohabitation was an act of courage. Unlike Americans dealing with such impediments as reluctant landlords or restrictive zoning ordinances, these young Chinese risked arrest.

These policies are at odds with recent changes of attitude among the Chinese people. In a survey of 23,000 people in 15 provinces conducted by the Shanghai Sex Sociology Research Center in 1989-90, 86 percent of the respondents said they approved of premarital sex. In short, in spite of the official attitude of repression, China is changing.

Chinese Government Tolerance and Intolerance about Sex

Andrew Jacobs wrote in the New York Times, “The government is priggish when it comes to matters of sexuality. Communist Party members can be purged for serial infidelity, orgies are strictly illegal and television censors have been on an anti-cleavage campaign of late, though their efforts have generated widespread public ridicule. One of China’s biggest online pornography operators is serving a life sentence. The so-called group licentiousness law provides up to five years in prison for consenting adults who repeatedly have sex with more than two other people.[Source: Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, March 6, 2015]

Sex laws can be draconian. People have been execute for running prostitution rings. In the late 1980s one man was executed for selling X-rated pictures of himself and his wife. Another man was arrested when police raided his home and found him watching a pornographic film.

In the 1990s, party newspapers regularly criticized sex talk shows as "spiritual pollution." In response to sexy advertising, authorities in Beijing passed regulations that restricted the amount of cleavage and thigh shown on billboards and signs. In the late 1990s, conservative Communist members proposed passing a law that would ban adultery. There was such as public outcry over this the proposal was scrapped.

By the 2000s, the government was more tolerant about sex, with an understanding that if the masses were entertained with sex they would be less likely to engage in political activity and demand reforms. Plus, the government realized it was limited in what it could do to control the sex content on the Internet. In many cases the government has not necessarily become more permissive but has simply let more stuff slide past the censors.

Rape, Sex Crimes and Sexual Abuse in China

Rape, pedophilia, and any behavior which “subjects women to indignities or carries out other gangster activities,” are all clearly illegal, according to Articles 139 and 160 of the 1980 Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. It is very interesting to note that although China has an official policy severely repressing sex and heavily punishing sex crime, nevertheless, such crimes in mainland China continue to increase from year to year. The Chinese government does not publicize the number of sex crimes, but some figures are available from academic articles. For example, in Shanghai, the largest city in China, the number of rapes increased from 100 percent (as the basis for comparison) in 1979 to 377 percent in 1983. Nationwide, the number of reported rapes rose from a base 100 percent in 1979 to 340 percent in 1983. Teenage rapists in particular increased from a base of 100 percent in 1980, to 150 percent in 1981, 192 percent in 1982, and 311 percent in 1983. While there was a slight decrease in 1984, the absolute number still increased, and in 1985 by 42.5 percent over the previous year in Shanghai. [Source: Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo, Fang-fu Ruan, M.D., Ph.D., and M.P. Lau, M.D. Encyclopedia of Sexuality =]

In China, every year a lot of people were shot by the government as the penalty of crime. Many of them were related to crimes of sex, love, and marriage. In Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic, for instance, out of fifty-two cases of the death penalty in 1984, crimes of sex, love, and marriage accounted for 67.4 percent of all death penalties. The juvenile crime rate from 1979 to 1981 increased more than 25 percent. Statistics from three cities in 1980 to 1983 showed 13 percent of juvenile crimes involved sex crimes. Most of them were 13 to 15 years old. Forty percent of male delinquents charged by the Juvenile Delinquent Correction Institution were charged with “sexual crimes and mistakes,” 95 percent of the female delinquents, some as young as 12 years, were charged with sexual violations, which may or may not have involved rape. =

Certainly, incest and sexual harassment exist in China. No general survey data is available. “Sexual harassment” as a new word in Chinese (Xingsaorao) translated from English is now used in China. Traditionally, it was included in the concept of liumong xingwei or tiaoxi funu, both terms indicating any behavior which sexually subjects women to indignities. Liumong xingwei and tiaoxi funu are clearly illegal, according to Articles 139 and 160 of the 1980 Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. =

Sexual Violence in China

Emily Rauhala wrote in Time: “In China, as elsewhere, it is difficult to talk about sexualized violence, particularly against kids — it's awkward, for one, and nobody wants to think they or their children are at risk.” In 2014, “a string of high-profile incidents started to change that. In one case, a 62-year-old primary school teacher was charged with sexually assaulting seven girls. His actions came to light when six of his victims developed genital warts. In another, 11 villagers were convicted of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl "left behind" by migrant parents.[Source: Emily Rauhala, Time, January 24, 2014 \=/]

“All too often, though, the issue goes unaddressed. Fear and stigma keep survivors and their families from coming forward, and those that do speak up are often shamed, not supported. Though the country last year vowed to crack down, laws remain weak. "In China, we blame victims, not abusers," says Xiao Meili over tea and sunflower seeds in Changsha, the capital city of Hunan province, in south-central China. "That's what we're trying to change." \=/

In January 2014, China executed a man who kept six women in a dungeon as sex slaves for periods up to 21 months. Associated Press reported: “Li Hao also was convicted of murdering two of the women. The official Xinhua News Agency says he was convicted of offences including murder, rape and illegal detention and sentenced to death in November 2012. Xinhua says the two women who died were killed by three of the others on Li's instructions, and were also found guilty of murder. It said the three were shown leniency. Li dug the dungeon under a basement. The women were held for between two and 21 months. [Source: Associated Press January 21, 2014]

In the 1980s, rates of crime in China rose in leaps and bounds, with alarming increases in sexual offenses in the young and relatively less increase in violent crimes. This section presents composites of a female prostitute and a male sex offender with modal characteristics abstracted from 137 tables of statistical information, gathered in a survey of inmates of prisons and reformatories, supervised by security and reform officials, with guarantees of strict confidentiality. These institutions were located in nine areas, with most of the respondents from Shanghai (49 percent), Chengdu (22.8 percent), and Soochow (11 percent). A total of 2,136 subjects took part, with 67.5 percent males; 385 were female prostitutes. [Source: “1989-1990 Survey of Sexual Behavior in Modern China: A Report of the Nationwide “Sex Civilization” Survey on 20,000 Subjects in China: by M.P. Lau’, Continuum (New York) in 1997, Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review (1995, volume 32, pp. 137-156), Encyclopedia of Sexuality ++]

Unfortunately, the various kinds of sex offenses were lumped together (except for female prostitution), and the data analyzed as a whole. Subjects included categories of “criminals,” people with “infractions of the law,” and those accused of “misconducts (wrongdoings, misdemeanors).” The judicial system gives latitude to officials to grade antisocial behavior and to dispose of violators according to pragmatic and situational considerations. For details and the extent of variations, the reader must refer to the book under review and its bibliography. ++

Sex Offenders in China

According to data from the “1989-1990 Survey of Sexual Behavior in Modern China,” a typical incarcerated male sex offender was about 28 years old and single. He had some secondary school education and was a manual worker or tradesman. He had his first seminal emission at age 16.5, still has nocturnal emissions once or twice a month, and masturbates about six times a month. He first witnessed sexual coitus at age 17, most likely at a peer’s home or in a movie or videotape. He admits having “average” or “strong” sexual desire, and exposure to sexual scenes tends to arouse him and predispose him to errant sexual behavior. [Source: “1989-1990 Survey of Sexual Behavior in Modern China: A Report of the Nationwide “Sex Civilization” Survey on 20,000 Subjects in China: by M.P. Lau’, Continuum (New York) in 1997, Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review (1995, volume 32, pp. 137-156), Encyclopedia of Sexuality ++]

He came from a home where his parents, especially his mother, had little education but an “average” or “comfortable” income, yet he still tended to feel deprived. He seldom talked to his parents and felt that family life was dull and meaningless. The family was generally permissive, but would express anger when a sexual offense or misconduct was committed. In a small percentage of cases, there was another family member with a history of criminal or sexually promiscuous behavior. ++

He emphasized the importance of sex and love, but relished instant pleasure. He would choose a partner based on appearance, feelings, and temperament, and would want a mate for sexual purpose even at an early age and outside the boundaries of wedlock. He likes movies, music, socializing, gossiping, womanizing, gambling, detective stories, and martial arts. He would be easily aroused by sexual material but may not act on it. Such material has become increasingly public and readily accessible. He probably has a few friends with a history of sexual offense or misconduct. He acquired his sexual knowledge mostly from his peers or the media, rather than from parents, siblings, or teachers, and has often found his questions unanswered. ++

Most offenders were convicted of their first sexual offense before age 29. The most common offenses were “hooliganism” (a vague umbrella term comprising various kinds of uncivil, indecorous, unmannerly, or licentious behavior), “promiscuity,” rape, and sex with a minor. Other male sex offenses included bigamy, extramarital relations, abetting prostitution, male prostitution, incest, and enforced sex with the aged or the disabled. There has been a trend to commit crimes less by violent means, and more by deception and enticement. The survey data and clinical observation show that the male sex offenders are generally immature, chauvinistic, and emotionally needy. They are said to be of “low quality,” and their families and social backgrounds are described the same way. Married male sex offenders reported fairly good marital and sexual relationships with their spouses, with frequent sexual intercourse (about ten times per month). ++

Upon conviction, most offenders expressed regret and cooperated with the sentence. While in prison, they try to suppress their sexual drives, but 6.3 percent admit to masturbation and 0.7 percent to homosexual activity. While some psychological or medical therapy may be provided for this sexual frustration, there has been no general policy to cope with the problem. ++

Panty Thief and Chinese Officials Involved in Hotel Orgy

Evan Osnos of The New Yorker wrote on his blog: “A leaked batch of photos swept across the Chinese internet this month, depicting a festive gathering of five, arrayed in various numerical combinations. Of more than a hundred photos, the ones that attracted the most attention were not the most acrobatic; they were the group portraits in which participants posed for the camera so clearly that it was not long before they were identified by Chinese Web users and discovered to include several government officials. Soon the group shots had been appended to portraits of the participants in their familiar poses — at official conferences, in tweeds, behind name plates — and the Internet swarmed. As the state-run Global Times put it , “it seems that Internet users do not want officials to be perceived as being akin to common mortals. They regularly show a great interest in burrowing away at government officials’ privacy.” [Source: Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, August 16, 2012]

It’s tough to spin an orgy. The local Party office in question first claimed that the images had been photoshopped; then they dropped that angle and said they were, instead, simply old pictures from elsewhere in China, unrelated to the county. But that explanation ran aground when one of the men — identified in state press reporters as Wang Yu, a deputy secretary of the Youth League Committee of Hefei University in Anhui province — while insisting that “the two other men are his friends, not government officials, conceded that “he regretted his behavior.” (The photos, it seems, were plucked from the computer of one of the participants after the machine was brought in for repair.) Another Party organ was not as contrite. “NAKED GUY IS NOT OUR PARTY CHIEF: LOCAL AUTHORITY” was the headline in the Global Times after the Communist Party committee in Lujiang county declared a case of mistaken identity in response to the suggestion that a bespectacled participant bears an extraordinary resemblance to Wang Minsheng, the local Party secretary. Wang said he had been “slandered” most likely because he was investigating others for corruption, and his office vowed that revenge: “Those behind the smear campaign will be held legally responsible.”

At bottom, the sex party is vexing for the Party because it highlights the gap between the artifice of official solemnity and the unadorned reality beneath, a gap that has become more pronounced in recent years as the Web eats away at the monopoly on authority. As the Global Times commented of the group shots, people “feel that this is but scratching the surface of the lives of luxury and sin that many officials secretly enjoy. Such activities are being pointed to as evidence for the decaying morality of government officials.” Until the hive moves on, government censors are seeing to tamp down the discussion. The State Council Information Office has sent out an advisory to Chinese news and discussion portals: “All websites must stop following and hyping the so-called “Lujiang Indecent Photos Incident.” Interactive platforms must quickly remove all related photos.”

In December 2014, Reuters reported: “A Chinese man who stole hundreds of pieces of ladies' underwear had his secret exposed after an emergency exit ceiling where he had been storing his hoard collapsed, state media reported. The man, surnamed Tang and in his 30s, admitted to having mental problems since he was young and that he did not know how long he had been obsessed with women's undergarments, reports said. Police in the city of Yulin said they found more than 2,000 pieces of panties and bras in the roof where he had stuffed his collection. Residents in the housing complex where Tang lived had complained about the mysterious vanishing of their undergarments. Tang used a master key for the apartments in the complex to sneak in and steal the underwear when residents were not there, media said this week. [Source: Reuters, December 25, 2014]

Chinese Official Caught on Video-Tape Having Sex with His 18-Year-Old Mistress

Christina Larson of wrote: “Among the many notable features of the latest grainy sex tape circulating on the Chinese Internet — a video of former Chongqing official Lei Zhengfu atop his then-18-year-old mistress in 2007 — perhaps the most intriguing is the angle from which it was shot. Someone placed a rudimentary video camera, or perhaps a camera phone, on a low dresser adjacent to a hotel bed and pointed it upwards. The pale slender woman is barely visible, but Lei's face, grunting in the throes of pleasure, is in full view. [Source: Christina Larson Foreign Policy, December 3, 2012]

As the amateur porn made waves online after it surfaced on Nov. 20, Chongqing's Commission for Discipline Inspection, the organ responsible for dealing with corruption and wrongdoing among party members, determined that the man in the video was indeed Lei. (He initially denied it, claiming Photoshop mischief.) Removed from his post as district party secretary on Nov. 23, Lei is now being investigated for party discipline infractions and graft in the second-raciest scandal to erupt in Chongqing this year, after the March fall of the municipality's former party boss Bo Xilai.

Conjugal entanglements of power, politics, money, and men, usually involving multiple sex partners, are hardly new in China, but how this video came to light was novel: Zhu Ruifeng, a 31-year-old former investigative journalist at the respected Guangzhou province newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, who now runs an anti-corruption website called "People's Supervision" in Beijing, posted the footage online in mid November. He represents a new trend: watchdogs who both understand that the Communist Party has a severe mistress problem, and realize that the problem can be used as a weapon in the fight against corruption.

Zhu, who obtained the video from a whistleblower inside the Chongqing police department, told Foreign Policy that he thinks the tape exists because a construction company bribed Lei with women to secure lucrative government contracts. To ensure greater leverage, Zhu says, the women were told to secretly videotape their encounters — hence the camera angle. (Chongqing's foreign affairs department said on Monday the commission's investigation is still ongoing, and that any relevant public updates will be made available via the government's Weibo account.)

Once the lewd video went viral, both Western and Chinese media outlets covered the story. It wasn't the first sex scandal to rock China, by any means, but the sharp contrast between the dour exterior of China's officialdom culture, and its raunchy bedroom obsessions is still shocking.

Sex Scandals, Chinese Officials and Combating Corruption

Christina Larson of wrote: “Even with heavy censorship, in recent years China's English language state-run media have run enough salacious content to embarrass your mother: In August, the nationalistic tabloid Global Times ran a story about two male officials in Anhui province under scrutiny after photos of a five-person orgy in a hotel room circulated online. In 2010, China Daily ran diary excerpts from a Guangxi province official convicted of accepting bribes after his meticulous sex-cum-graft diaries were posted online. (Among the entries: "Womanizing is on the right track. It's been a lucky year with women. I need to pay attention to my health with so many sex partners.") To be sure, details are often suppressed: When China's former railway minister Liu Zhijun was deposed on corruption charges in February 2011, a leaked Central Propaganda Bureau memo instructed : "All media are not to report or hype the news that Liu Zhijun had 18 mistresses." [Source: Christina Larson Foreign Policy, December 3, 2012]

Li Chengyan, a professor at Peking University's Research Center for Government Integrity, a staunch party loyalist, is researching the role of kept women, or ernai, as whistleblowers, intentionally or otherwise. "The phenomenon of mistresses is so common in Chinese history, but the scale today is really unprecedented," says Li, who thinks the problem is caused by loopholes in the discipline system and lack of effective supervision. "If we examine corrupt officials, about 80 to 90 percent of them also have mistresses."

Li sees a connection between China's modern concubine culture and its runaway graft: the "emperor psychology" of the unrestrained: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely. When officials have absolute power, they become bold to ignore the law and social norms and do everything they like." This ultimately hurts the party: "It's misleading to think that keeping a mistress is not a big problem — that it won't affect the official's main work, records, and achievements. Temptation brings temptation."

But where others see moral hazard, Li also sees a silver lining. "Many corruption investigations begin with information or lawsuits from the mistresses. Why not? They have direct knowledge of the officials' behavior." Eleven mistresses of a Shaanxi province official — many of them wives of his subordinates — exposed his dealings in 2007 after their families stopped prospering. The mistress of a former Navy vice-admiral ratted him out in 2006 after he rebuffed demands for continued financial support for her and their secret love child. "She wanted compensation to buy a house and raise the kid as a condition to end the relationship," says Li. "Changes in relationship status always produce unstable results." More tragically , an official in Shandong province was executed in 2007 for graft and murder after his former mistress died in a peculiar car-bomb explosion, and a police investigation turned up explicit photos of the estranged couple. Zhu, the investigative journalist, says he hopes to break the cycle where "officials protect each other" from leaks about their bribe-taking and outsized sex lives “one tape at a time.”

Chinese Swingers Sent to Jail

In 2010, a court in Nanjing, eastern China, confirmed that a university professor, Ma Xiaohai, 53, had been jailed for three and a half years for organizing a wife-swapping club and orgies. The state newspaper China Daily reported that 18 others received sentences of up to two and a half years, while three were released because they had turned themselves in. All but Ma pleaded guilty. [Source: Tania Branigan, The Guardian, May 20, 2010]

The case is thought to have been the first under the “group licentiousness” law, one of several introduced in 1997 to replace the sweeping charge of “hooliganism”. Yao Yong'an, one of Ma's lawyers, said the academic would appeal. “The court is wasting society's resources. What they did was in their private space. We are not working for one person or even 20. We are trying to rescue over 100,000 people from getting hurt. If this case is wrongly judged, similar cases will be judged this way.” But Fang Gang, director of the Beijing Forestry University Institute for Sex and Gender, predicted: “Those who want to swap wives will continue; they will just be more careful than before.”

In an era when sex shops and brothels proliferate, and when extramarital affairs are increasingly common, many saw the charges as outdated. Sociologist and sexual rights campaigner, Li Yinhe, said that two decades ago displays of public affection and even dancing with members of the opposite sex could be severely punished. “He could have been sentenced to death then. But the real improvement should be the abolition of this crime,” she said. But others argued that such behavior was lowering social standards and could lead to other immoral acts. Ma told China Daily group sex was common and the orgies distracted him from the pressures he felt after his second marriage failed. He said the sex was consensual and claimed the orgies had improved some marriages. One couple reportedly wed after meeting at the events. Sexologist Xue Fulin, deputy chairman of the China Sexology Association, told the newspaper an overhaul of sex laws was needed. His team had turned to Marx and Engels for guidance, collecting 152 relevant quotes. “As the theoretical basis of the Communist party of China, Marxism is able to guide us through everything. Sexology is no exception,” he added.

Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times: “Chinese Internet users and even some official news organizations have debated the case. Legal scholars say the Qinhuai District Court, which tried Mr. Ma, took an unusually long time to reach the verdict, which could indicate that judicial officials had to weigh a variety of legal and political factors in deciding how to enforce this law. “Because this has raised such a debate, it means that people are increasingly aware that their sexual rights and freedoms are being encroached upon,” said Ms. Li, who this March unsuccessfully lobbied legislative advisers to abolish the law. Ms. Li is a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “I feel that the thought process of the Chinese authorities is always to try to manage and control the population, the people,” she added. “Beyond prosecuting criminal activities, they feel they have to control or manage people to their standards.” [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, May 20, 2010]

The law against group sex, generally interpreted by judges as involving three or more people, is left over from an earlier law against “hooliganism” that was used to prosecute people who had sex outside of marriage, Ms. Li said. The hooliganism law was scrapped in 1997. One notable swingers case took place in the early 1980s, when the leader of a swingers club involving four middle-aged couples was executed, she added. At least three recent surveys have shown that the prosecution of people who engage in group sex does not enjoy widespread support today. Several Chinese news Web sites posted editorials echoing that sentiment after the verdict was announced. “This kind of behavior is a citizen’s personal freedom; this is a part of the private rights of citizens,” wrote one author, Yi Bo, on a site maintained by the propaganda department of Shanxi Province.

Group Licentiousness, the Last Draconian Law in China

In response to the “swinger” verdict in Nanjing, sexologist and activist Li Yinhe wrote in a blog post: “Inthe past thirty years, this has been the only case in which “partner-swapping” was prosecuted as a crime... Currently, Chinese laws regarding sex can be divided into two different categories and six clauses. The two categories are those that directly harm people and those that don't. Rape, molesting young girls, and sexually assaulting women are the three sexual crimes with a victim. Group licentiousness, prostitution, and obscene products [pornography] are the three victimless sexual crimes. In my opinion, the laws covering sexual crimes with a victim have only a few problems. In contrast, there are many problems with the the laws covering victimless sexual crimes, the biggest problem being the “crime” of “group licentiousness.” [Source: translated and posted by Julian Smisek, May 23, 2010]

“After the Cultural Revolution ended, we were left with many draconian laws that had to be reformed or removed. Basically all of these laws were repealed, and out of chaos came order. In 1997, newly created criminal laws finally did away with the crimes of “hooliganism” and being “counter-revolutionary.” This change largely improved the state of human rights in China, making it so citizens could no longer be punished for voluntary speech and behavior that didn't harm other people. Citizens' public and private lives became a lot safer than in the past, when they were punished at the slightest pretext. Since the change, citizens' understanding of their civic rights has also increased.”

The crime of “group licentiousness” is the last draconian law left to us from the Cultural Revolution. It was originally a sub-clause under the crime of hooliganism. Thirty years ago, these “swinging” cases were handled with extreme harshness. The principal offender would get the death penalty and accomplices would get 15 years to life. The crime of hooliganism was not just leveled on people who engaged in group sexual behavior, but also included any type of extra-marital sexual behavior (the classic case was a female punished for having sex with multiple men). In 1997, after “hooliganism” was done away with, extra-marital relations were no longer considered a crime, but three or more people having sex still is. Such is the behavior that “group licentiousness” laws seek to punish.

“The case of Ma Yaohai fully exposes how absurd and out-dated the crime of “group licentiousness” is. No matter how much it offends social customs, the private, voluntary, victimless behavior of citizens should not suffer the control or punishment of the state. Such is the public consensus. In our country that's rushing down the road of modernization, it's so obvious how primitive, backwards, and barbaric this law is! China is already no longer that barbaric backward country where everyone used to yank each others' ponytails [symbolizing a mistake that can be used against you]! We must work hard together to change this last draconian law and cut away this ugly ponytail!”

Ejaculating Subway Molester Arrested in Shanghai

In June 2012, the China Daily reported: “A man suspected of molesting a young woman in the Shanghai metro has been apprehended by police. "The molester, who was encircled by onlookers and was stopped by security guards on the platform, ran away from the spot but was arrested last night," said a publicity officer surnamed Sun from the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. [Source: Zhou Wenting, China Daily, June 15, 2012]

The woman passenger, who was wearing denim shorts, said she suddenly felt something hot falling on her leg when the crowded subway was approaching the People's Square Station — the city's central and busiest station — during morning rush hour. "I first thought that it was someone's food," she was quoted as saying by Shanghai Morning Post. She later found that it was the ejaculate from a man about 30 years old standing to her right. The two had an argument on the platform and when she intended to call the police the man ran away.

Police said they are intensifying crackdowns on such incidents, which occur more often in summer. In another case the same week, a 27-year-old man, surnamed Huang, put his mobile phone into a woman's skirt for sneak shots while pretending to squat down and tie his shoe on a subway platform in Shanghai on Tuesday. He has been held in administrative detention by police on charges of invasion of privacy. A month earlier, a 44-year-old native of Shanxi province exposed himself to several young women on the Beijing subway. The man candidly confessed his actions and was held for administrative detention.

Guangzhou Daily recently launched a survey on its micro blog about the necessity to open women-only compartments after reports of several molestation cases. Around two in three respondents ticked "yes". "Even if obscenity cases don't occur so frequently, people are kept close to each other in the full subways every day, which gives chances to those with bad intentions," said Huang Jianing, a white-collar worker in Shanghai who takes the metro every work day. "I believe the incidence of sexual harassment is much higher than what's reported, because many victims keep it quiet. Society needs to show more respect and protection for women," said a native of Qingdao, Shandong province, who asked to be identified as Echo.

However, opponents believed the practice will aggravate the already overloaded subways, and this is also the reason the Shanghai metro has left out the proposal. "There is a huge passenger flow in the city's metro system during rush hour. It's not feasible to open women-only compartments when vehicle numbers and transport capacity is obviously insufficient," said Lan Tian, a media officer at the Shanghai Metro's operation management center.

A woman in this situation can ask for help from passengers, metro workers on the platform and call police, Lan said. "And women should better protect themselves and avoid scanty clothes in summer," he added. However, women should not be criticized in this case, said Li Xia, an anthropologist working in women's studies and a senior editor at the Commercial Press. "An alarm bell can be installed beside each row of seats, which is connected to the subway workers. Then the workers and the police can cope with a case immediately when the train stops at the next station," Li said. She also mentioned she has noticed a specially marked waiting zone for female passengers in subway stations in Taiwan that have electronic surveillance and aim to protect women at night. "Camera monitoring covers all the platforms and entrances of every station, so there is no need to mark a waiting area for women specifically," said Lan from Shanghai metro.

Ejaculating Subway Molester Incident Blamed on Women's Dress Code

A week and a half after the subway molesting case was publicized, the China Daily reported; ‘several women in Shanghai protested a statement from the municipal subway authority that "scantily clad women attract molesters" by holding posters reading: "I can be coquettish, but you can't harass me"."It was a fight against the company's statement on its micro blog. We believe women have the freedom to choose what to wear, and how people dress should never be an excuse for sexual harassment," said a woman who joined the protest and only wanted to be identified as Xiangqi. They covered their heads and faces with black cloth, leaving only their eyes visible, and walked into metro compartments and on platforms. She said many passengers nodded and smiled at them. [Source: Zhou Wenting, China Daily, June 26, 2012]

The No 2 subway operating company in Shanghai updated its micro blog on June 20 with a picture of a woman wearing a semi-transparent dress standing on the metro platform. "It would be a miracle if you dress like this in the subway without being harassed. Girls, please be self-dignified to avoid perverts," it wrote on the micro blog along with the picture.

Many people said it is rare to see women dressing so scantily in public, and women should not be blamed in this situation. "Can it be reasonable that I'm doomed to be robbed if I drive a BMW car? That's the same," said Zhu Xueqin, a professional psychological counselor, who also works on gender studies.The words seem to be a reminder for women, she said, but they are actually gender discrimination. "With this attitude, how could the metro operator cope with a sexual harassment case in which a woman wore a miniskirt?" asked Zhu.

Some supporters of the metro company said the statement is a reminder of goodwill. "But the tone is far from being courteous," said Xiong Jing, a senior officer from Media Monitor for Women Network, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization committed to properly reflecting women's needs and concerns. "It's improper for the company, as a manager and maintainer of order in the subway, to criticize its women passengers, who are actually victims, on its official micro blog. We hope it can offer an explanation."

More women said molesters wouldn't be eliminated even if they put on heavy clothes. "I was once sexually harassed on a bus in winter when I was in high school and I was wearing a school uniform. It has nothing to do with what a woman wears, which I think most people will agree with," said Tian Wei, a 26-year-old white-collar worker in Shanghai.

Some women said sexual harassment should include all the behaviors that make someone uncomfortable, rather than only those with substantive actions. "I feel very sick when some men look me up and down when I take the subway. I don't wear any improper clothes, and it's fairly rude and makes me angry," said a Shanghai resident surnamed Wang. "Women are taught to be self-respectful since childhood, but some men show bad manners in respecting women and themselves," she said.

However, some men said they also feel perplexed by the way some women dress on the subway. "It's embarrassing if a scantily clad young woman happens to stand in front of me. Sometimes I can only bend my head or take out my mobile phone to surf on the Internet," said 25-year-old Shao Yuru, a civil servant in Shanghai.

Image Sources: 1) Sex products,; 2) Sexy poster, University of Washington; 3) ox peninses, BBC; 4) Old sex art All Posters. com Search Chinese Art .

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated October 2021

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