Male prostitution ring smashed in Zhejiang

On August 10 2007, Zheng Shuyi registered the “nannanboy.com” website (which was quite known among netizens). With the help of Xu Guangming the website soon became a networking tool where, for a fee, male prostitutes could upload their pictures and contact details. Also, Zheng and Xu rented out two rooms where prostitutes could meet their clients.
So successful was Zheng’s website, that in July this year he sold it for 30.000 yuan to Wu Hongchun. But something went wrong soon. One day Xie Dongdong, one of the prostitutes, took an HIV test, receiving positive results. Presumably, he had spread the virus to most of his clients.

Zheng Shuyi, Wu Hongchun, Xu Guangming and Xie Dongdong were tried by Wuxing district (Huzhou) people’s court on charges of organizing prostitution (Zheng and Wu), aiding and abetting prostitution (Xu) and spreading venereal diseases (Xie Dongdong). Today, all of them were found guilty and sentenced as follows:

Zheng Shuyi – organizing prostitution: 5 years and 6 months fixed term imprisonment, 6000 yuan fine

Wu Hongchun – organizing prostitution: 5 years fixed term imprisonment, 4000 yuan fine

Xu Guangming – aiding and abetting prostitution: 2 years and 6 months fixed term imprisonment, 2000 yuan fine
Xie Donggong – spreading veneral diseases: 1 year and six months fixed term imprisonment, 2000 yuan fine

Unfortunately I haven’t seen the panjueshu yet, but from newspapers accounts it seems that this case posed some problems to the court. The point of contention was the legal definition of “prostitution”, and whether such crime could be committed by a man too.

Eventually, the court held that the relevant article of the Criminal Law (358, below) can be understood as indicating either men or women prostitutes, as the word prostitution refers to an act that can occur between persons of different sex, or between homosexuals. Every “illegitimate sexual intercourse” (不正当性关系) involving an exchange of cash or other assets (金钱、财物) reasoned the court, constitutes the crime of prostitution.

It is not the first time that similar cases are tried in China. One of the first trials of male prostitutes took place in Canton in 2004 (picture above). The biggest difficulties in these cases is the claim, made by defence lawyers, that an intercourse between two males does not violate article 358 of the Criminal Law. The solution normally found is referring to a normative document issued by the Ministry of Public Security in 2001: 公安部关于对同性之间以钱财为媒介的性行为定性处理问题的批复, even though this document is normally not quoted in the virdict.

Relevant articles of the PRC Criminal Law

Article 358
A person who organizes or forces another person to engage in prostitution shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years and concurrently to a fine; and under any of the following circumstances, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years or life imprisonment and concurrently to a fine or confiscation of property:

1. to organize another person to engage in prostitution and the circumstance is serious;

2. to force a girl under the age of fourteen years to engage in prostitution;

3. to force many persons to engage in prostitution or to force another person to engage in prostitution for many times;

4. to force the victim to engage in prostitution after raping her; or

5. to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person being forced to engage in prostitution or to cause any other severe result.

A person who is under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall, if the circumstance is especially serious, be sentenced to life imprisonment or death and concurrently to confiscation of property.

A person who assists in organizing another person to engage in prostitution shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years and concurrently to a fine; and if the circumstance is serious, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years and concurrently to a fine.

Article 359
A person who lures, shelters or procures another person to engage in prostitution shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention or public surveillance and concurrently to a fine; and if the circumstance is serious, to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years and concurrently to a fine.

A person who lures a girl under the age of fourteen years to engage in prostitution shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years and concurrently to a fine.

Article 360
A person knowing to have a serious venereal disease such as syphilis or gonorrhea who engages in prostitution or whoring shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention or public surveillance and concurrently to a fine.

A person who whores with a girl under the age of fourteen years shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years and concurrently to a fine.


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