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In April, a Nanjing college professor named Ma Yaohai was arrested for organizing and participating in group sex parties. This week, Ma was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on an official charge of "group licentiousness." The case, which has implicated dozens of other people, has touched off a heated conversation about whether and when the Chinese government should involve itself in people's intimate lives.


  • 'I Didn't Do Anything That Hurt Anybody Else'  Ma, who set up a chat room that nearly 200 people joined between 2007 and 2009, and who participated in 18 group-sex sessions in that time, made a number of coolly defiant comments to the press before his trial began some weeks ago. "How can I disturb social order? What happens in my house is a private matter," he told reporters. "I didn't do anything that hurt anybody else. I didn't force anyone else. Why is all the world focusing on me?"
  • Blatant Hypocrisy  The Wall Street Journal reports an online groundswell of disgust with the Chinese government for persecuting Ma. Among the remarks left by Web commenters and cited by the Journal: "Government officials have mistresses." "Courts don’t punish extramarital love affairs, mistress holding, or sex trading." "The official can set a fire while common people can't carry a lantern. This thousand-year-old proverb still matches the current society. Why is there no progress in China?"
  • Points Up Similarities, Differences Between U.S. and China  Gawker's Max Read makes a flip but intriguing observation. "As far as I can tell from this article, China is basically just like the U.S., now, with a hyper-sexualized urban media culture and a way more judgmental rural conservative backlash. Soon, they will have a Miley Cyrus all their own! Except for the big difference, which is you can get locked up for five years for having a sad internet swinger party."
  • The Rules Seem Kind of Flexible Over There  In the wake of a recent speed-bra-unhooking contest in Guangzhou, BlackBook's Hailey Eber is puzzled. "Undoing multiple half-dressed women's bras at the mall is kosher in China, partner-swapping in the privacy of one's own home is not," she writes. "There is no justice in this world."

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