Skip to main content

Chinese law enforcement has an unusually public debate on a sensitive topic: Do paid sex services known as “happy endings” in massage parlors count as crimes if they do not involve real sexual intercourse?

While prostitution is illegal in China, its limits are discussed with rare candor by courts, police and state media – even the usually heavyweight flagship of the Communist Party.

“Different places have different standards for whether masturbation services are a crime; judicial interpretation is urgently needed,” read a headline from People’s Daily, which typically spends its time lecturing party members. on discipline or obscure ideological issues.

The debate centers on the sexual services provided by employees of massage parlors or generally low-end hair salons, advertised to clients with colorful phrases such as “hit the plane” and “massage the breasts”.

Although common in Beijing and many other Chinese cities, the services only became part of a notable national conversation this week, following newspaper articles about a crackdown that fizzled out in the southern province. from Guangdong.

Police in Foshan City arrested barber shop staff for providing sexual services, but the prostitution charges against them were overturned by a local court. A precedent was apparently set last year when the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court handed down a verdict against a group of salon workers, including three managers who had been sentenced to five years in prison for “organizing prostitution.”

Today, courts, police, prosecutors, lawyers and academics are cited to discuss oral sex and other types of sexual services facilitated by parts of the body excluding the genitals, topics typically taboos that have caught the public’s attention.

The question is whether such services can be considered prostitution if there is no sexual intercourse.

Technically, no, at least according to the highest court in Guangdong province, which says such services do not fall under the legal definition of prostitution.

On its official microblog, the court urged the legislature to clarify the matter, saying that while no law prohibits such services, they “seriously undermine social order and cause a certain degree of social harm.”

The high court in eastern Zhejiang reportedly agreed that if there is no sex, there is no prostitution, but police in the capital Beijing, south Guiyang and elsewhere do not disagree. The divergence of views is unusual in a society where police, prosecutors and the courts are often seen to work closely together.

The debate also highlights how urban Chinese have become more open in their attitudes towards sex, as prosperity increases and government controls on personal freedoms loosen. Mentalities remain more traditional in the countryside.

Sociologist and sex expert Li Yinhe said the debate showed the country had come a long way in two decades, when public displays of affection and even dancing with members of the opposite sex could be punished.

“The whole social atmosphere has changed. Even in the 1980s, the repression was very strong, very severe,” Li said. “… In the past, organizing prostitution was punishable by death.”

She greeted the unexpected court verdict with false horror, saying, “It’s just too subversive.”

Source link

Leave a Reply