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  All materials © 1999 
  Beijing Scene


Beijing Scene, Volume 6, Issue 2, October 22 - 28 

Happy Together

Prosecutors in southwestern China have had to drop charges against two men found running a brothel for homosexual men because of a lack of existing legislation, an official newspaper reports.

"The Jingniu District Procuratorate approved the arrest of the owner and cashier of the Red Bat teahouse on August 28, on charges of organizing and providing premises for prostitution," the China Business Times reports.

But it said the prosecutors in the city of Chengdu were unsure of how to proceed with charges, despite the fact they had raided the teahouse and collected evidence that sexual services were being provided and paid for. They were unable to decide whether homosexual intercourse counts as prostitution, so they sent the case back to the police, who released the men, surnamed Huang and Wang respectively.

The paper quoted their lawyer as saying the decision was fair. "There is nothing in criminal law to say that homosexuality can count as prostitution despite the fact that money was paid." "In the absence of new legislation or clear legal interpretation, the two people should not be punished," says the unnamed lawyer. The case contrasts with a recent ruling in a Beijing court, where a judge ruled that homosexuality is abnormal and unacceptable to the public.

Xuanwu District court recently heard a case involving a man who sued the author of Homosexuals in China for describing him as gay, despite the fact that the book did not name him, a spokesman for the book's publisher says. Xu Yanggang sued author Fang Gang and the Jilin People's Publishing House for psychological damage and losses after Fang's book described him as a nightclub owner and a homosexual.

While the spokesman had not heard news of the verdict, Zhang Lihua awarded Xu rmb 9,000 (US$1,086) in damages because his reputation had been infringed.

"There are no articles of law which say homosexuality is a crime," Jilin People's Publishing House editor Yu Erhui said. "You have to respect people's right to choose. Homosexuals are not a threat to mankind."


Down In the Hole

A man has been arrested after hiding in a hole for 12 years because he was wanted for stealing rmb125 (US$15.10), the Legal Daily reports.

It says police searched many times for the man, identified only as Lu, who allegedly stole the money from a house in the southern county of Xinyuan in 1987.

During yet another search of his house last month, however, someone noticed something strange about a closet. They moved it and found Lu hiding in a
one-meter (three-foot) hole he had dug underneath the closet.
The newspaper says he used the hole as a hiding place for 12 years,
emerging occasionally at night. Lu will be tried for theft, it says,
without giving any further details.


Dating Game

Two girls who were old friends bumped into each other on the public bus one day in Shanghai. One turned to the other and asked what she was doing for work these days. The second explained that she was working at a "marriage agency" but that in fact the business had turned into a "dating agency" where men would pay money for introductions to prospective wives with intention to marry.

She explained the business was very time consuming to operate because there
were not enough girls in Shanghai interested in dating and marrying these kind of men, so the agency had to hire out "liyi xiaojie" or "hospitality girls" who would then date the customer once or twice before claiming that "there was no feeling of love" as their excuse to cut off the relationship. 

The customer would then pay more money to the dating agency for a new introduction. This process of taking fees for introductions, having the girls date once or twice before breaking off the relationship and then taking more fees for more introductions proved to be a profitable business as the dating agency only needed to keep a fixed set of girls on the payroll which could be rotated systematically among their pool of customers. The constant rotation also assured that customers were kept nibbling at the bait long enough to cough up the fees for a full cycle of dating experiences with different women.

Upon hearing how this business worked, the second girl remarked to her friend, "Actually my brother wanted to go to a dating agency to find a wife. Now that I know you are all a bunch of cheats, I will tell him not to bother."

-Xinmin Evening News
( www.chinawatcher.net )


Hack Attack

A Shanghai Internet company is trying to test the security of its website by offering computer hackers rmb 5,000 (US$600) if they can break in, the official Xinmin Evening News says.

In an unusual one-week trial, the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Network Development Co. is making the offer for those who can get into its website www.netway.net.cn and obtain documents under the secu.txt section, the newspaper says.

The competition has been approved by local public security authorities, the newspaper says without giving further details. China has seen a surge in Internet surfers in the past few years with the number of users now estimated at four million. The number of cases of hackers trying to get hold of secure information has also risen sharply, local media reports. The website has the following cautionary note, however: "Attempts to break into this site are legal this week only."


Ecological Warning

The mainland faces an ecological catastrophe if the authorities continue to ignore environmental protection, an expert warns.

Professor Vaclav Smil, of the University of Manitoba in Canada, says blind economic development at the environment's expense will cause China's ecology to collapse.

China will face the problems of insufficient food supply, energy shortages and frequent natural disasters if the Government does not act soon, he says.

"China is losing some of its best farmland to industrial development, and that can be a very serious problem," says Professor Smil, 56, author of several books on the mainland environment and an editorial board member of the ecology magazine China Quarterly.

Unlike South Korea or Taiwan, the mainland cannot not rely on importing food from other countries, given the size of its population, he says. In pursuing high economic growth, the Government has drastically raised its energy consumption, which could trigger further problems.

"In the past, China promoted energy conservation because of shortages," he says. "Now this policy has been abandoned and some officials think that by raising the power supply they can do without conservation." 
He calls the Three Gorges Dam an "ecological disaster." 

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