• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 9:46pm

'Raping prostitutes less harmful,' says law professor, drawing huge condemnation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 1:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 July, 2013, 3:37pm

A comment by a Tsinghua University law professor that "raping prostitutes is less harmful than raping ordinary women" has sparked a widespread online backlash.

Yi Yanyou, director of the university’s Evidence Law Research Centre, was commenting on a highly anticipated criminal case involving the 17-year-old son of a PLA celebrity singer. The teenager, surnamed Li, has been accused with four others of gang-raping a woman in a Beijing hotel room in February. Li’s family had reportedly suspected the victim to be in the escort service and claimed she did not resist.

Yi wrote on his Sina microblog on Tuesday: “Underscoring the fact that the victim is an escort girl … is relevant because they tend to consent to sex more easily. In addition, raping escorts is less harmful than raping ordinary women.”

In another post, he later sought to revise his remark to: “Raping ordinary women is more harmful than raping escort girls in bars and nightclubs, and prostitutes.”

The comments were soon spotted by bloggers and internet users. Many of them said Yi's posts not only showed explicit support of the defendant, but also legal discrimination towards sex workers. Yi's Weibo page quickly drew tens of thousands of comments questioning his rationale.

“Every woman enjoys an equal right to safeguard herself from sex exploitation. Since when do the rights come with different rankings?” said one blogger.

Even the defendant's lawyer, Tian Canjun, was prompted to issue a public letter, criticising the law professor's remark as discrimination against sex workers.

“When people are subject to acts that seriously violate laws, [we] ought not to judge its social harmfulness based on the victims’ reputation, wealth and especially occupation,” Tian wrote on his microblog.

Apparently overwhelmed by the immense criticism, Yi on the same day wrote on his blog: “Echoing the ignorant public’s voice is much easier than speaking the truth” and “[I] do not expect the internet to be a platform of rational dialogue”.

On Wednesday, Yi deleted all posts related to this topic on his microblog account. 


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This article is now closed to comments

What a stupid chauvinistic remark. Rape is never less harmful. It just goes to show that there are idiots in universities too.
Prostitution should be legalized. **** the moral argeument, fact is its the oldest profession in the world and will be here forever as along as there are humans.
The moral argument constantly ignore the fact that there will be forever be prostitutes and by not legalizing them it only put those woman in ever more harm.
I can't believe this guy can even say such an inhumane remark..........I would have to call him a "Sh-thead" for even thinking what he said was acceptable in this modern society. Raping is raping and there is no difference as to what the victim's line of work is. I certainly hope the accused in this case gets the full punishment despite his father's background.............If he is guilty of rape, punish him to the fullest...........as for the law professor.........he should be castrated.......
Rape and beating of prostitutes used to be common in China. Punters paid extra for it. One time in 2006 I went to the largest KTV in HouJie with a British friend. I wanted him to see the scale of those operations. We had a medium sized room, just the two of us and a Hong Kong friend. My British friend went to the private toilet and backed out slowly calling me over. I went in and immediately realised I was looking at a crime scene. Long black hair imbedded in the wall paper from where someones head was repeatedly slammed into the wall. Blood splatters up the walls. Small puddles of blood on the floor. Flecks of flesh stuck to the wallpaper, in the basin, and all over the toilet.
I reported it to the Manager who smiled calmly and without looking in the toilet she locked the door and insisted we move to another room. I told her she should call the police - oh how NAIIVE I was back then.
I found out later from one of the drinking hostesses that it was common for Government officials and rich guys to come in and rape the working girls. Afterwards the injured would be dumped at a local hospital with some money stuffed in their clothes to fix them up.
Since Wen Jia-bao's edicts that Government Officials faced serious consequences for being seen 'out and about' this kind of activity has reduced substantially - either that or it has gone off the radar.
Thoroughly disgusting. Even sex itself is insufficient for these sadists who would instead prefer rape plus assault and battery. In order to ensure they can "enjoy" this revolting past time without legal ramifications, they target workers in the adult entertainment industry (who are not quite prostitutes), who are less able to protect themselves due to societal and legal stigma.
Corruption have only gone more rampant under Hu-Wen era, of course the abuse of prostitutes are still rampant.
This sort of thing is an excellent reason why the industries related to the sex profession must be decriminalized. How else can sex workers be treated as equals before the law and afforded legal protection that they, as fellow citizens, are entitled to? How long must they endure such discrimination, abandonment, violation, abuse, and torture?
As well, we must, as a society, have great respect for our fellow citizens who do the work that we ourselves would rather not do. How many of us would prefer to work in sanitation or waste disposal? I have great respect for those who work the above industries. How about prostitutes or escorts, or KTV hostesses? I have great respect for them too. It is only with respect that we can effectively combat the poisonous societal stigma that these workers are subjected to.
Prostitutes are workers, many do so to make their livelihood. There is no reason why someone trying to be responsible to herself should endure any more than she needs to endure. We must remind ourselves that our preferences concerning ethics, family values, or morality, have no place in law. We must make decriminalization of the sex related industries a top priority of any government.
As long as you pay them first?
When a woman says NO DON"T or just plain NO and the assailant continues to force himself on the victim, THAT is RAPE; no matter what she is or who she is.
Technically, he must be correct but the distinction is not one worthy of mention. Loathsome crime it is, no matter the particular circumstances of the victim. His point, though, can be illustrated this way: who suffers more harm, a 13-year-old virgin schoolgirl or a busy 40-year-old sex worker? Both are violated and the criminal must be brought to justice but the professor must be technically correct that there is a scale of harm done depending on the victim.



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