Li Yinhe: The Last Draconian Law
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!