A COURT court in China sentenced a college professor to three and a half years in jail for organising sex parties.
Beyond the tough sentence handed to 53-year-old Ma Yaohai, the court in the eastern city of Nanjing found 21 others guilty, delivering punishments ranging from probation up to three and a half years in prison, the China News Service reported.
The case throws a spotlight on the once puritanical country’s sexual awakening, a byproduct of the past 30 years of economic reform and its opening up to the outside world.
The country’s “one child” family planning policy and prostitution, which flourishes nationwide, changed how the Chinese view sex, experts said.
According to the China News Service, Ma was given the longest sentence due to his public declaration of innocence and refusal to admit guilt.
Most of the other defendants – 13 men and eight women, according to previous reports – admitted their role in the group sex parties and thus were given lighter penalties, it said.
It was the first time in 20 years that defendants were convicted of “criminal group licentiousness”, the report said.
Police first busted a group of five “wife-swappers” in a Nanjing hotel in August last year, which led to the arrests of the other defendants, it said.
Ma, a 53-year-old associate professor at an unnamed university in Nanjing, set up the “Wife Swappers” chat room and organised many of the group sex parties at his home, participating himself on occasion, earlier reports said.
“At first the chat room discussions were very clean, with most people discussing their marital problems,” the Procuratorial Daily quoted the twice divorced and now single Ma as saying. But partner swapping later became the focus of the online forum, which grew to include more than 190 members.
“Every family more or less has this or that kind of insufficiency – a marriage can be like a bowl of cold water that has to be drunk, swapping partners is like a bowl of sweet wine,” Ma said.
The case drew a chorus of opposition over China’s laws on criminal promiscuity, with scholars and advocates of sexual rights and greater sexual freedom calling for reform, the newspaper said.