China sends prof to 3½ years’ jail for holding sex orgies


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BEIJING: A college professor in eastern China has been sentenced to three and half years in jail for organizing group sex and wife swapping activities through an Internet chat room. The court also declared 21 others including eight women guilty of "criminal group licentiousness".

This is the first time in two decades that a court has sentenced people on the charge of "criminal group licentiousness" although it has been considered an offense in the law books for a long time. It is seen by observers as a sign of the increasingly puritanical attitude of Chinese authorities in recent years.

The chat room attracted 190 members, and many of them indulged in regular sex parties, the prosecutors said. The court awarded punishments ranging from probation to three and half years in jail to the 21 persons convicted along with Ma Yaohai, the 53-year-old the professor.

The twice divorced Ma caused a stir by saying he was within his rights to participate in sexual activities in the privacy of his home as long as he did not disturb public order.

Ma got the maximum sentence for his public utterances while the others admitted their guilt, the state-run China News Service said.

"Every family more or less has this or that kind of insufficiency -- a marriage can be like a bowl of cold water that has to be drunk, swapping partners is like a bowl of sweet wine," the Procuratorial Daily quoted Ma as saying.

The investigations began last August when the police busted a group of five "wife swappers" in a Nanjing hotel. Ma, who organized the sex parties and participated in some of them, was arrested along with others later.

"At first the chat room discussions were very clean, with most people discussing their marital problems," But partner swapping later became the focus of the online forum, which grew to include more than 190 members.

The case drew a chorus of opposition over China's laws on criminal promiscuity, with scholars and advocates of sexual rights and greater sexual freedom calling for reform, State media said.