A recent article from Sixth Tone sheds light on some inconsistencies and contradictions in China’s penal code regarding sexual assault against minors, which has only recently (August 2015) been updated to account for males as well as female victims. It's a bit shocking.
According to the writer of the article, child law specialist Zheng Ziyin, Article 360, Section 2 of the 1997 revised version of China’s penal code states: “Whoever whores with a girl under the age of 14 shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years and shall also be fined.”
Breaking down this statement brings up several concerning issues. The word “whores” has negative connotations that could damage the reputation of the underaged girl, even though she is an innocent victim. Also, the language does not reflect the possibility of rape and only implies that engaging in sexual activity with an underaged female is forbidden. So if it is not deemed rape, then it could be implied that the underaged girl gave consent.
This is also in itself an incomplete definition of sexual assault because it excludes verbal sexual harassment and other non-physical sexual abuse.
Anyone serving trial for underaged rape is allowed use of the defense of not being “fully aware” of the victim’s age, but it is only absolutely determined that the offender was fully aware if the victim is under 12 years old. This means that sexual offenders can use an excuse that the child, if between the ages of 12 and 14, had the appearance and mannerisms of a consenting teenager and therefore avoid conviction.
These are some ugly truths that need to be addressed and amended immediately to protect our children.
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