Senders of lewd text messages face fines, detention in Anhui

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 December, 2008, 12:00am

A regulation detailing detention and fines for senders of lewd mobile phone text messages was implemented yesterday in Fuyang , Anhui province , amid criticism from the public.

Provincial newspaper Anhui Shangbao quoted Fuyang police bureau as saying that anyone sending three or more lewd text messages to three or more people could be detained for up to five days and face a maximum fine of 500 yuan (HK$569).

Similar laws have previously been implemented in other provinces.

Under a measure approved by Henan Provincial People's Congress early last month, lewd text messages sent to women can be considered sexual harassment.

Eastern Shandong province also included the same measure in a document submitted for approval by the Provincial People's Congress on Wednesday.

A poll by showed that most netizens did not support Fuyang's measure.

With 2,539 votes, 78.8 per cent said they opposed the regulation and just 17.4 per cent approved of it. On the website's news discussion board, netizens questioned the regulation.

'How can they know whether an SMS is sent by a Fuyang resident or someone from overseas, and how will 'lewd' be defined?' a Guangdong netizen asked.

Other netizens wondered if sending three lewd text messages in a year might result in detention.

Another Guangdong netizen complained: 'Officials can have three mistresses, but normal people can't even read a bawdy message or joke on their mobile phone.'

A netizen from Anhui even suggested that Fuyang should be isolated from the province because it often generated negative news coverage, referring to the luxurious White House-style government building in Yingquan district and the 45 brands of tainted milk powder sold in Fuyang villages from 2003 that killed at least a dozen babies.

Another said Fuyang should put efforts into boosting the local economy instead of passing 'strange laws'.

But the Fuyang police bureau's legal department head Li Daoxin later denied the reports.

He said the regulation considered sending messages to cause a nuisance an offence, and did not mention the figure of three messages.

He said police would not monitor phone users' text message records and would take action only after receiving complaints.