Chinese Court Coins New Term: ‘Temporary Rape’

November 15, 2009 Updated: November 15, 2009

A court in China coined a new legal term when punishing two policemen last month, saying they were guilty of the “temporary rape” of a high school graduate; they were given lenient sentences because of the pronouncement.

The two policemen took two high school graduates, who had just completed their college entrance exams, out to eat and drink on June 19. They all drank a lot, and one of the students, Ms. Chen became heavily drunk, as told in a China News Service article of Oct. 29. The policemen took her to a hotel under the pretext of “helping her to come to,” but then raped her while she was passed out.

The police later turned themselves in, and were put before a court. The Nanxun District Court of Huzhou County, Zhejiang Province, said in its verdict that the two police committed the crime of rape, but issued a light sentence of three years imprisonment, saying that they had “committed a temporary and on-the-spot crime, without premeditation,” according to Chinese state media.

Chinese bloggers and commentators were shocked and outraged at the judgement.

A criminal law scholar at Zhongshan University’s Faculty of Law, Deputy Professor Lize Xia, said to the Yangcheng Evening News that the key point of the case was the presence of both policemen at the crime scene, that the incident was in fact gang rape, and that the policemen should have been sentenced ten years or more imprisonment, according to Chinese law.

One widely read blogger, Liao Heyu, questioned the legal foundation of the term “temporary and on-the-spot crime.” “Does this mean that rape could be classified as ‘formal or informal?’ Using such ‘logic,’ will there then be ‘temporary murder,’ ‘temporary bribery,’ ‘temporary drinking and driving,’ ‘temporary robbery’… It is not hard to imagine the ‘temporary’ era is coming soon, when all crimes could be given light sentences because of their ‘temporary nature.’”

Others were also apparently shocked by the verdict; blogger Yin Guangmei, who identifies as a soldier currently in the military, wrote “Good individuals following rules are being defeated, and the so-called advancement and public credibility of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been proven to fail. The morality of the legal system and the natural state of China have been abandoned altogether. The cultural values of democracy, justice and equity that should be expressed in China have definitely been lost.”

An article by Su Wenyang published in the Beijing Evening News mocked the judges, saying, “It is fairly logical that the judge is only a ‘temporary’ one, and he gives sentence based on ‘temporary crime.’ It is not difficult to believe that law will become ‘temporary law’ when it is handed down by such judges.”

An article titled “The Term of ‘Temporary Rape’ Is Challenging the IQ of the Public” on Zhengzhou Evening News expressed feelings of helplessness at the verdict, saying that “The term ‘Temporary Rape,’ taken from fictional plays has now become a reality.”

According to a Wuhan Evening News report of Nov.6, the Huzhou County Intermediate Court has decided to review this case, but no date for review has been set.

Read the original Chinese article.