Group Sex Can Get You Jailed in China

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BEIJING—Fifty-three-year-old Ma Yaohai, a computer science professor at Nanjing University of Technology in China, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on May 20 for organizing group sex parties, China Daily reports. Twenty-one other people were charged in the same case, the first group in 20 years to be convicted of group licentiousness. Eighteen of them were sentenced to two and half years in prison. Three others, who turned themselves in, received no criminal penalty. Ma reportedly got a harsher punishment because he was the only one who refused to plead guilty. He argued that all of the defendants participated voluntarily, and therefore no crime was committed. The sentencing verdict has renewed debate in China over whether group sex is a moral issue or a crime. While some sociologists believe criminalizing the act is outdated, other legal experts believe the “group” act goes beyond the issue of individual freedom, where public power can intervene. However, more than 70 percent of the 15,871 respondents in an online poll on the news site ifeng.com said Ma should not have been brought to trial.