Swingers Trial Tests Sex Mores, Limits in China

Verdict in 'group licentiousness' case due tomorrow
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2010 6:54 AM CDT
Ma Yaohai, a 53-year-old college professor, center talks to the media before entering the courtroom in Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu province.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – They were members of a modern-day swingers' club in China, where people met online and then gathered in homes or hotels for group sex parties involving dozens of men and women. Last month, Ma Yaohai, a 53-year-old college professor and 21 others went on trial in the southeastern city of Nanjing, accused of "group licentiousness"—a charge created in a 1997 law and never used until now. The verdict is due tomorrow the AP reports.

The case has both titillated China, and set off a debate about sexual freedom, the AP reports. Once an extremely sexually conservative society, China has been transformed by its rising prosperity and personal freedoms. Many are supporting Ma , who, on entering the court at the start of the two-day trial, blurted out, "How can I disturb social order? What happens in my house is a private matter." China Daily even dared to question the government's actions in a lengthy article entitled “Sex liberation stymied by law.” (Read more China stories.)

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