A case in point is article 42 paragraph 5 of the PS Administration Punishment Law, under which
Those who send several obscene, insulting, threatening communications, or any other communication that disturb the ordinary life of another (…) can be punished with no more than 5 days detention (拘留) and a fine of no more than 500 yuan. If the circumstances are serious, they can be punished with more than 5 and less than 10 days detention and a fine of no more than 500 yuan
Legislators of Fuyang PSB though of interpreting this provision as follows:
Those who produce, transport, reproduce, sell, rent obscene publications, pictures, films, audiovisual products and other obscene objects or use computer networks, telephones and other means of communication to spread obscene communications are punished wih more than 10 days and less than 15 days detention, and a fine of no more than 3.000 yuan. If the circumstances are minor, they are punished with no more than 5 days detention and a fine of less than 500 yuan. (…)
Because this piece of legislation is problematic in several ways. Just to mention a few of them:
- In Fuyang, minor crimes are punished more heavily than in the rest of China. Because while the PS Administration Punishment Law punishes the sending of obscene messages with no more than 5 days detention and a fine of less than 500 yuan, in Fuyang the same behavior is punished more heavily: with 10-15 days detention and a fine of less than 3.000 yuan.
- As this commentator notices, according to the Law on Legislation local public security bureaus have no authority to amend a national law. And this is what the Fuyang PSB has actually done.
- Law-makers in Fuyang have failed to specify what an obscene message is.
- Provisions as to the minimum number of obscene materials that must be spread have been made (10 books or magazines/50 pictures/2 movies/5 DVDs). But law-makers have not specified how many messages one has to send in order to be punished. It’s true that the words “three obscene messages” never appear in this piece of legislation. On this Fuyang PS bureau is right. But, since no specifications as to the number of messages have been made, in theory even the sending of JUST ONE MESSAGE could be punished.