Sexologist Li Yinhe has been very vocal recently about her dissatisfaction with China’s pornography law. In her latest blog post, Li uses pretty rousing language to encourage readers to rebel against what she sees as improper enforcement of the law.
From the ‘Taiyuan porn site’ case [9 individuals were jailed for running pornographic websites] to the ‘Sichuan man Yang Huajun fined for downloading obscene video’ case [where a young man was fined 3000 RMB for downloading porn to his personal computer], things have been getting more and more astonishing. In the beginning, it was [only those who were] making profit that were being punished, [but] then those not making a profit were punished too, and now they’re even punishing people inside their own homes. I think that if we quiet down and stop rebelling, it will progress to a stage where everyone who peeks at a pretty girl on the street will have their eyes gouged out.
In my opinion, citizens watching pornography in their homes and online is fairly equal to looking at pretty girls on the street: the degree of harm it causes to society and to other people is similar [to that caused by looking at girls on the street]. It isn’t necessary to see this as being like confronting a mortal enemy; the heavens will not collapse, there will not be chaos in society, and the stability of the regime and of society will not be threatened. Who knows, maybe it could make society more stable – if everyone was to concentrate their desires and passions into sexual happiness, they wouldn’t be going out on the streets causing trouble, let alone thinking about overthrowing the regime. This [would be] a shared victory for the common people and the government.
The ‘Shaanxi porn DVD’ case ([in 2002, police officers burst into the house of a young husband and wife and violently arrested the husband for watching an erotic DVD, summary in Chinese here] provoked nationwide debate, and in the end it was the police who put an end to the matter with an apology. However, some people have short memories, and are committing the same mistakes. Recent internet obscenity clean-ups have been increasingly astonishing, we should all come out and yell “stop”. I’ve noticed that there’s a very [fresh] phrase in legal circles, that ‘lower-level law’ must obey ‘upper-level law’. [Law enforcers] say that being a fining guideline, the lower-level law “Measures for the Security, Protection and Administration of the International Networking of Computer Information Networks” should abide by the upper-level “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Public Security Administration Punishments”. To use their own words, the lower-level “Obscene Goods Law” must also abide by the article about free speech in the upper-level law “The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China”.
For more debate on this topic, read this post over on china/divide, written by the ChinaGeeks editor.