Today I saw reports on CCTV-12 related to the crackdown on porn sites. And unlike other reports on murder, theft, and sexual crimes, I thought there was a problem with these reports.
The public security guys work very hard on the crackdown, and the justice department has issued tough judgements. They also have a clear goal in their enforcements: to crackdown on the dissemination of pornographic materials and the display of sexual performances.
So where is my problem then? It is that all your “defendants” were consenting participants. Nobody was forced into anything, and nobody suffered any harm to body or property. This is how these activities are distinct from the afore-mentioned crimes.
With no “plaintiffs” in this case, what is the basis for all the legal punishments? It is to crack down on behaviours that go against society’s moral values. According to the moral standards upheld by most in our society, pornographic products and sexual displays are not permissible, they are decadent, they are not in line with moral norms, they are degenerate and depraved. However, the problem is that moral issues should be the jurisdiction of education and religion, not of law, and certainly they should not be handled with legal tactics and punishments. In truth, the legal establishment’s authority in this area is misplaced. Although they are acting in accordance with the law, the premise that there is a problem with pornographic products needs to be re-examined.
Laws on obscene materials have evoked fiery debates all over the world. Apart from the reasons I have mentioned earlier, there are many other reasons. But why can’t we discuss these issues in China?
Li Yinhe is also a leading gay rights activist. She made her way to the National People’s Congress to submit proposals for same-sex marriages three times in 2003, 2005 and 2006. In her early professional life, she was an editor with the state-owned Guangming Daily. She subsequently joined the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and married the late writer, Wang Xiaobo (王小波). More on her on Wikipedia.