May 18, 2010

"China used the so-called charge of 'hooliganism,' a catchall term that criminalized everything from premarital sex to dancing with members of the other sex and listening to Western music."

Ma Yaohai, a 53-year-old college professor, is on trial — for participating in a swingers' club.
Ma said his decision to join the swingers was voluntary. "Marriage is like water. You have to drink it. Swinging is like a cup of wine. You can drink it if you like. If you don't like it, don't drink it," he said in interviews with Chinese media.

In arguing that his activities involved consenting adults meeting in nonpublic places, Ma's defiance seemed to strike a chord in an era of relative sexual freedom, where extramarital affairs and prostitution are common — drawing support from those who believe the Chinese government should stay out of the bedroom.

Entering the court at the start of the two-day trial on April 7, he blurted out, "How can I disturb social order? What happens in my house is a private matter."

37 comments:

mesquito said...

Who are we to complain. Arizona has had the temerity to make illegal immigration into a crime, for pete's sake. Glass Althouses, is what I say.

Be said...

Don't these guys do the same thing with the term "Terrorism?"

Penny said...

For as many times as I worry about what the internet culture has done to my own country and its people, I get EQUALLY encouraged about just how much it has done for those living in lands that have far fewer liberties.

COURAGE is highly underrated on the world stage.

edutcher said...

Coming to a national government near you.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

This moron seems to be under the impression that he lives in a place where people are free to do certain things.

"What happens in my house is a private matter," is a sentiment completely without any precedent in modern-day China. Nothing is a private matter in a totalitarian society.

(BTW: Our police state does the same thing only we don't call it "hooliganism." "In many states, cities, and towns there are statutes or ordinances against loitering by which the police can arrest someone who refuses to "move along." There is a question as to whether such laws are constitutional.

dbp said...

The first few who stand up for their natural rights are morons in that they will bring the wrath of the state down upon themselves. But they lead the way and eventually the Chinese will have freedom.

Courage and Stupidity are not always easy to distinguish.

The Drill SGT said...

With their surplus of men, they are going to need to provide some outlets, else risk more unrest.

Bill White said...

When did "the opposite sex" become "the other sex"? And who sent the memo to Tini Tran? Either it's sloppy writing or it's the AP's new style with a planned introduction of other sexes to come (born male now female, born female now male, etc.)

Fred4Pres said...

Nice try, but if that does not necessarily work in America, good luck flying that argument in China.

Methadras said...

How dare we judge another society that doesn't relish the privacy of their citizens and would see them conform to government standards? Oh wait...

dbp said...

Does it strike anyone else as slightly ridiculous for a 53-year-old to be accused of "hooliganism"?

Be said...

@Bill White: The same folks who were forced to read "Second Sex" for Journalism classes. (Don't get me started on Beauvoir. *Grits teeth.*)

Palladian said...

I bet Obama got a boner reading about this. Imagine the possibilities!

Good thing we're basically a dependent province of China!

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Does it strike anyone else as slightly ridiculous for a 53-year-old to be accused of "hooliganism"?"

They don't get the BBC in China.

AJ Lynch said...

Hooliganism? How is that pronounced in Chinese?

wv = "crool" and Yes I am

Eric said...

Does it strike anyone else as slightly ridiculous for a 53-year-old to be accused of "hooliganism"?

Heh heh. Doesn't it bring to mind a drunk frat boy making gang signs, breaking windows, and beating up homeless people?

Kirby Olson said...

The public order CAN BE disturbed by all the diseases that result. The Chinese state is correct to interfere.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"The public order CAN BE disturbed by all the diseases that result."

Which diseases result from having sex with four people simultaneously at a party that wouldn't also result from having sex with them one at a time on four different succeeding nights?

You seem to be advocating an argument against any sex at all, rather than an argument against group sex (or swinging).

Your argument just doesn't stand up to much logical scrutiny.

Eric said...

The public order CAN BE disturbed by all the diseases that result. The Chinese state is correct to interfere.

Oh please. Does that mean they ought to be prosecuting people who go to work with communicable illnesses as well? That probably has a much, much bigger impact on society.

The state has no business interfering with the private lives of adults. That's why we call 'em "private".

Be said...

Agree with Eric - weren't these the same folks denying "Civet" flu or whatever the hell caused the massive panic that spread to Canada and that resulted in my getting 1/2 priced rates at the Royal York at the time?

"delogi" - snort - unable to find sufficiently "germ free" lodgings?

mesquito said...

Wasn't this, like, Mao's hobby?

Adam said...

@Kirby O, Steve Landsburg says more sex is safer sex. If he's right, do you think that the state should compel people to have many sexual partners?

wv= mingra: aphrodisiac popular in 15th and 16th Century China

Expat(ish) said...

Boy, I have this picture of Will Farrell "streaking" through Tienanmen Square now.

-XC

traditionalguy said...

Public morality again uses a ritual scapegoat to be sacrificed in order to scare the rest straight. Better not do foursomes...too many witnesses.

Penny said...

dbp said...

"Courage and Stupidity are not always easy to distinguish."

Frankly, that is the ever-loving, always surprising, BEAUTY OF HUMANITY, and the world as we know it.

Worst case?

We're ALL just "stupid enough" to not exhibit courage.

It'll NEVER happen...but if it ever does?

Perhaps it is best we all take a bow for our own role in the single best show of a lifetime on the planet earth.

We did the best we could...and now it's over.

Geoff Matthews said...

If more sex is safer sex, then why are there so many STDs in the gay male community?

The more promiscuous a community, the faster STDs will spread.

Sixty Grit said...

They can't listen to Western music, but what about Country? Stinkin' commies...

WV - ioness - after the boss lady gave them 'l.

Adam said...

@GeoffM, Your point is a good one, that seems to have induced Landsburg to refine (or, as he probably sees it, to clarify) his argument. His answer is that, in an initially non-promiscuous population, a small increase in promiscuity (e.g., from one partner to four) is beneficial because of the large increase in the pool of available and uninfected potential partners. What must be borne in mind is that he does not claim that adding to the number of your own sex partners reduces your individual chances of getting an STD; that would be absurd. What he argues is that by being willing to have sex with (a few) more people, healthy people reduce other peoples' chances of contracting STDs. That would be the basis for stimulating, as it were, their sex lives.

My own point was not that I endorsed Landsburg's analysis as a public-policy imperative, but rather that the logical foundation of any argument against private choice of more sex partners was at least as shaky as an argument in favor of more sex partners.

Seven Machos said...

As long as you are not on property that the city happens to want to improve, or in jail and you've served your time but the feds decide they want to keep you longer because maybe you'll commit more crimes, you can swing here in the United States.

Those fucking Commies know nothing about freedom.

Geoff Matthews said...

Adam,
"My own point was not that I endorsed Landsburg's analysis as a public-policy imperative, but rather that the logical foundation of any argument against private choice of more sex partners was at least as shaky as an argument in favor of more sex partners."

but it is not born out by practice. Landsburg's analysis is faulty, simply because you cannot guarantee that non-infected people will only have sex with non-infected people.

there are public health reasons to discourage promiscuity. Whether the Chinese government has the right method (and I doubt that this would be applied to party members) is certainly open to criticism.

Adam said...

Geoff, I'm not going to recapitulate all of Landsburg's analysis; the link I provided earlier will allow you to read it for yourself. I will, however, say that you're neglecting a fundamental point of his analysis, which is that more pleasure via more sex is a good thing, not a neutral event. Public-health types overlook that point, so that their ideal world is one in which we all abjure pleasure for even the slightest probabilistic gains in health.

All I really want to say is a variant of what Seven Machos just posted; let each of us take responsibility for, and bear the consequences of, our own copulatory choices. Stop looking in every corner of our lives for another excuse to regulate private behavior.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Those fucking Commies know nothing about freedom."

On the contrary, they know quite a lot about it.

One of the ways you eliminate freedom is to take all privacy away from people. There is no such concept as privacy in China (and, increasingly, in the United States).

This homeowner believes wrongly that what he does in his own house is his own business. That is a mistake. The people, once getting the taste of a little bit of freedom, inevitably demand more of it.

Can't have that.

But don't get that smug look either ... like it can't happen here. We outlaw polygamy (and same-sex marriage). We outlaw sex among young people. We have "morals" laws that are equally enforced against "swingers."

Here's an article about 6 swingers arrested - not in Communist China - but in Wichita, Kansas.

Here's another story of Conneticut's secret police infiltrating a swingers party and arresting four people (charges were dismissed later on, after the people's careers and lives were ruined by the arrests.)

Here's another story of secret police arresting people for having sex ... this time in Florida.

albert venn dicey said...

It is not the charge, but the culture and free government.
The offence of hooliganism exist in all former Soviet-block countries, including Bulgaria.
But any public prosecutor trying to prosecute premarital sex or sungers will be kicked out of the courtroom almost immediately.
I doubt that even under communism such prosecutions would be possible in Bulgaria.
We had separate offences for immoral (i.e. homosexual) practices though.

ken in sc said...

Ham, loitering laws in the US were invalidated by the courts in the 1950s and 60s. This led to local communities being no longer able to control their public areas and protect downtown businesses. This in turn was a major factor in the development of enclosed shopping malls and gated communities where private security guards could maintain control.

Kirby Olson said...

Adam, that isn't what Lundberg argues, exactly. He says that when one person is too timid to be monogamous, it leaves those who aren't getting the prey of the promiscuous.

His argument is a tad more complex than the one you present.

People should be monogamous, or else, get a big A stamped on their foreheads.

Adam said...

KirbyO, I gave you the link, but apparently I have to give you the actual passage as well. OK, just this once, here you are, but after this you're on your own:

"Enjoyment should never be lightly dismissed. After all, reducing the rate of HIV infection is not the only goal worth pursuing; if it were, we'd outlaw sex entirely." --S. E. Landsburg (not "Lundberg"), More Sex Is Safer Sex, p. 12.

You may now resume your battle against sex, but you cannot claim that you are doing so on the basis of any sound reasoning regarding the public health of the Chinese.

Paul said...

Hmm 'Hooliganism'. Don't tell Obama, that might give him ideas.