Why 98.5% of Chinese want to abolish the crime of ‘whoring underage girls’
June 30, 2012Jing Gao4 Commentscadre, child abuse, child prostitution, child sexual abuse, Criminal law, law science, Law/Crime, prostitution, rape, Sex crimes, Sex trade, Supreme Court, whoring an underage girl
On June 25, a symposium on the crime of ‘whoring underage girls’ once again drew the public attention onto the highly controversial legal concept.
As the number of sexual assaults on young girls is on the rise, the outcry against the crime type is gaining momentum, as it is widely believed to have helped rapists escape severe punishment and incriminated innocent girls who are victims of the sexual abuse.
The crime type first appeared in the 1997 revision to the criminal law. The original intent of the legislation is to ‘severely punish those who have sex with child prostitutes.’ Even though it is a felony, it is only punishable by imprisonment less than 15 years, in contrast to rape, which is punishable by death sentence. Therefore, the crime is panned as a shield for criminals with money and clout.
The other point of controversy of the crime is the stigmatization of young girls, who were victims but then labeled as ‘prostitutes’ or, even worse, ‘whores’. In addition to the infliction of physical harm, the demon of the crime leaves a scar on their psyche.
Zhang Xiangdong, the CEO of 3g.cn, a mobile web portal based in China, conducted a poll on Sina Weibo, a hugely popular microblogging service in China, to find out netizens’ attitude towards the crime. Of the 123,280 respondents, 98.5 percent was in favor of abolishing the crime in order to protect minors from sexual crime.
Below is an infographic made by 3g.cn, the mobile web portal, for the campaign against ‘whoring underage prostitutes’ as a crime.
Excerpts of the text in the infographic:
Recently, party cadres in Lueyang, Shaanxi province, were finally convicted of ‘whoring underage prostitutes’ after they gang-raped a 12-year-old girl. Among the sentences meted out to the six defendants, the longest was 7 years, whereas the shortest was only 5 years…
In most jurisdictions around the world, engaging in sex acts with a minor automatically constitutes rape and leads one to be punished severely.
The why did those arrested in Shaanxi’s Lueyang received so light a punishment? Because they are under the umbrella of a crime called ‘whoring an underage girl’!
‘Whoring an underage girl’ was first recognized as a crime in the 1997 revision to the criminal law. It was differentiated from and parallel to rape crime. If one is found guilty of whoring an underage prostitute, one cannot be found guilty of rape at the same time.
In January 2003, the former Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court, Huang Songyou, interpreted the law, saying “If the perpetrator is not aware the girl is under 14 years old and sexual relations are consensual, it is not a crime.” That prior knowledge of the age is a defense to child rape sparked the largest debate in the scope of law science. Opponents believe that it is a legal loophole that may be taken advantage of by criminals.
This interpretation is no longer applied since August 2003, but the crime type exists to this day.
Within the 14 years following the invention of the crime type ‘whoring an underage girl’, far from deterring criminal activities, it has actually encouraged prostitution rings to lure and coerce underage girls into prostitution, and has allowed perpetrators to get their evil hands onto girls.
Selected comments from Sina Weibo (55,743 shares, 10,739 comments)
刘畅觉不够睡：If there weren’t any of these politicians, girls in China would have been much safer.
漫画狂想曲：I had always thought that in mainland China, (sex with) any minor, with or without consent, is rape…
武功太高闪了小蛮腰：Return a clear and bright world to us. Protect our vulnerable and lovely daughters.
PoppyXu不是徐破皮：A sheep was preyed upon by a tiger, and some say that the sheep should also be held accountable because its meat is edible? Those in legal circles who support the crime of whoring an underage girl and fight for the rights and justice of criminals based on juridical logic, aren’t they just too self-righteous?
李国荣公民: What’s the background of establishing it as a crime? Is it for “absorbing feminine force to strengthen male health”? (In Taoist sexual practices, a man should seek out different young women, preferable virgins, for sexual intercourse to rejuvenate themselves.) ”
Jason_norge: Those in a government post should receive even a stiffer punishment. 5 to 7 years imprisonment is only like a harmless scratch on an itch.
Ling-夢小靈：Are they still human beings? China’s laws are truly garbage! When can they protect those who really need protection? The human nature has been totally corrupted~
洁洁头gwj：I am speechless. Are we going to learn from Japan? Guess the sex industry will also become a pillar industry and boost GDP?
3-1-5社区：Abolish the evil law and castrate those demoniac officials who sexually assault young girls!
朱庚申: The system is the root of all evils. Execute 5 percent of those cadres at the ministerial and provincial level (for corruption, rape and murder of people in cold blood), then these evils will decrease by 95 percent!
徐_曼曼：Amazing country! The heavenly kingdom that rots from the core!
菁宝贝妈咪: If you have the money, just leave the country! What a country, what a law!