A Tsinghua University professor took to Weibo yesterday to spew some idiocy about the ongoing trial against Li Tianyi (pictured), a 17 year old boy accused of taking part in the gang rape of a woman in Beijing.
Yi Yanyou (pictured, insert) argued that prostitutes, escorts and bar girls are more likely to consent to sex, and therefore it’s more acceptable to rape them than it is to rape a normal girl. His message, as one would expect, outraged pretty much everyone.
Professor Yi is director of the Centre for Evidence Law at Tsinghua University, one of the most prestigious universities in the country. You’d think that would mean he wasn’t a complete and utter moron, but apparently it doesn’t. His remarks displayed an utter lack of respect for women and men (the implication being that men are going to rape someone, so they may as well rape the bar girl), and are also appallingly lacking in logic. For a man training the country’s future lawyers, Professor Yi is kind of terrible at making an argument. Apparently he was trying to elucidate the finer points behind the defence put forward by Li’s lawyer. Instead he just dug his own grave. This is what he had to say:
To emphasise that the victim is a bargirl doesn’t mean it’s OK to rape a bargirl. It only means that a bargirl is more likely to agree to a sexual act. Besides, even if it is a rape, to rape a bargirl does less harm than to rape a good woman.
After this comment didn’t get the reaction he expected, the professor tried to calm the plebeians down with a thoughtful, lawyerly revision. By making the exact same point in a slightly different way:
About the last point, I made the follow revision: It does more harm to rape a good woman than to rape a bargirl, a dancing girl, an escort or a prostitute.
His incendiary remarks led to a barrage of criticism from netizens. Offbeat China translated some comments:
基辛格的地盘joked: “So when ruling a rape case, we first need to distinguish 68 kinds of women, and then punish the offender accordingly.”
李承鹏, Weibo celebrity and popular liberal voice, commented: “It’s like that the urban law enforcement officers think it does less harm to beat up street vendors than to beat up store owners. It’s like that court securities think it does less harm to beat up petitioners than to beat up officials. China has a lot of people with such twisted logic. They judge by their own discrimination before the law.”
王小山, another Weibo celebrity, commented: “A law professor from one of China’s best universities think it’s less harmful to commit crimes against one group of people than the other. Now we know why some convicts live but others die for the same kind of economic crimes. This is our reality.”
Professor Yi was given a chance to defend and/or explain himself at a press conference, instead he acted like a child who threatens to tell teacher because the other kids aren’t playing nice.
“The internet is a paradise for the mob, and when necessary, China can shut it down,” Yi told reporters.
UPDATE: Professor Yi has finally deleted his tweet and apologised!
“My comment yesterday was indeed improper,” he wrote on his Weibo account. “I’m disturbed by the negative impact and hereby apologize to all.”
Initially Professor Yi refused to delete his post, stating in an interview with China Real Time that deleting his post would be admitting that he was wrong. When he eventually relented later that day, he was reported to have said, “I don’t want to be in this anymore,” in a call to China Real Time.
When A University Professor Says On Weibo That It Does ‘Less Harm’ To Rape A Bar Girl: