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Content created: 020422
File last modified: 170308

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Selections From the
Penal Laws of China

Incest & Adultery

The following section on incest and adultery corresponds with Staunton's Sixth Division, Book VIII, Sections CCCLXVI-CCCLXXXV, pages 404-410 (section 31 of the Chinese edition).

Section List

SECTION 366. —Criminal Intercourse in General.

Criminal Intercourse by mutual consent with an unmarried woman, shall be punished with 70 blows; if with a married woman, the punishment shall be 80 blows.

Deliberate intrigue with a married or unmarried woman shall be punished with 100 blows.

Violation of a married or unmarried woman; that is to say, a rape, shall be punished with death by strangulation.

An assault with an intent to commit a rape, shall be punished with 100 blows, and perpetual banishment to the distance of 3000 lee. In these cases however, the, conviction of the offenders must be founded on decisive evidence of force having really been employed.

Criminal intercourse with a female under twelve years of age, shall be punished as a rape in all cases.

In cases of criminal Intercourse by previous agreement, or by any intrigue, the man and woman shall be esteemed equally guilty; and if any male or female child be the fruit of such connexion, it shall be supported at the expense of the father; the mother shall either be sold in marriage or remain with her husband, according to his choice; but if the husband is guilty of selling his wife in marriage to the adulterer, the parties to such an illicit agreement shall be respectively punished with 80 blows; the woman shall be sent back to her family, and the price paid for her, forfeited to government. —The woman upon whom a rape is committed shall not be liable to any punishment.

Persons aiding and assisting, or conniving at the meeting of the parties guilty of a criminal intercourse as aforesaid, shall suffer the punishment next in degree, as usual in the case of accessories.

Persons discovering a criminal Intercourse, and afterwards submitting to a compromise, by which the same is concealed, shall suffer the punishment due to the offenders, reduced two degrees.

A person charged with a criminal connexion, shall not be convicted unless positively proved to have been on the spot, where the fact was fated to have taken place.

When, however,. a woman is found with child, she shall be liable to the penalties of this law, though the father should not be discoverable.

SECTION 367. —Conniving at, or Consenting to a Criminal Intercourse.

In all cases of a husband consenting to, or conniving at, the adultery of the principal or any other of his wives, the husband, the adulterer, and the adultress, shall each be punished with 90 blows.

Any individual compelling his principal or inferior wife, or any female educated under his roof as an adopted daughter, to engage in a criminal Intercourse, shall be punished with 100 blows, and the adulterer or fornicator shall be punished with 80 blows; but the woman shall be considered innocent, and sent back to her parents or family.

Any person who consents to, or connives at the compulsion of his wives or adopted daughters in the manner aforesaid, or who compels his own daughters, or the wives of his sons or grandsons, to engage in a criminal intercourse, shall be punished as above stated.

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Any person who parts with his wife and transfers her to another for a pecuniary consideration, shall, as well as also the purchaser, and the wife, if consenting to the transfer, undergo the punishment of 100 blows, and the wife shall be sent back to her family. —The money paid for the transaction shall be forfeited to government.

If the wife and the person proposing the purchase, shall have combined together to oblige the husband to consent to a separation from her, and no corrupt motive be imputable to him in the transaction, he shall not be punished , but the wife, and the person whom she proposes to herself as a husband, shall be respectively condemned to suffer 60 blows and one year's banishment: the banishment, in the case of the woman, shall be commuted for a fine, and she shall either remain in her first condition, or be sold in marriage, at the choice of the first husband.

If the case relates to any other wife except the first, the punishment of the parties shall be reduced in every instance one degree.

Persons aiding, assisting, or negotiating in the business, shall be punished one degree less severely than the principals.

When the husband discovers the wife to have committed adultery, and sells her in marriage to the adulterer, he shall be punished with 100 blows, the other parties, as already stated.


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SECTION 368. — Incest; or Criminal Intercourse Between Relations.

A criminal intercourse between relations more remote than the fourth degree, or with the wives of such remote relations, shall be punished with 100 blows: —if a rape is committed, the offender shall be beheaded.

A criminal intercourse with relations in the fourth degree; with a wife's former husband's daughters, or with sisters by the same mother, but by different fathers, shall be punished with 100 blows and three years banishment:

When in such cases a rape is committed, the offenders shall be beheaded.

A criminal intercourse with a grandmother's sisters, cousins by the father's side, the wives of brothers or the wives of nephews, shall be punished with death by being strangled immediately upon conviction. —If a rape is committed, the party offending shall be beheaded.

A criminal intercourse with a father's or grandfathers inferior wife, with a father's sisters, or father's brother's wives, or the wife of a son or grandson, shall be punished with death, by being beheaded immediately upon conviction.

In general in the cases of inferior wives, the punishment shall be reduced one degree, unless otherwise provided.

SECTION 369 —Accusing an Elder Relation of Adultery.

When a wife falsely accuses her father-in-law or her elder brother-in-law, of having obliged her to consent to an incestuous intercourse, she shall suffer death by being beheaded.

SECTION 370. —Criminal Intercourse between Slaves or Servants, and their Master's Wives.

All slaves or hired servants who have been guilty of a criminal intercourse with their master's wives or daughters, shall be beheaded immediately after conviction: when guilty of a criminal intercourse with their master's female relations in the first degree, or with the wives of the male relations of their masters in the same degree, they shall be strangled after remaining in prison the usual period. In the above cases, the punishment of the woman, if consenting, shall be less, only by one degree. When guilty of a criminal intercourse with their master's more distant female relations, or with the wives of his more distant male relations, they shall be punished with 100 blows, and perpetual banishment to the distance Of 2000 lee.

If guilty of committing a rape upon the latter persons, they shall be beheaded after remaining in prison the usual period: except in the cases of rape the punishment of a criminal intercourse with any of the inferior wives, shall generally speaking be less than in the case of principal wives by one degree.


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SECTION 371. —Criminal Intercourse between Officers of Government and Females under their Jurisdiction.

In all cases of civil or military officers of government and of their official clerks and attendants, being guilty of a criminal intercourse with any the wives or daughters of the inhabitants. of the country under their jurisdiction, the punishment shall be two degrees more severe than in ordinary cases between equals; —they shall also be deprived of their offices and employments, and moreover rendered incapable of returning afterwards to the public service.

The woman, if consenting, shall be punished for such consent, only as in ordinary cases.

If such officers, or any of the persons serving under them, are guilty of having a criminal intercourse with a female convict who is under confinement in prison, they shall be punished with 100 blows and three years banishment: the female convict shall not suffer any aggravation of the punishment to which she had previously been liable: when in such cases violence is offered, the offending party shall be strangled.

SECTION 372. —Criminal Intercourse during the Period of Mourning.

All persons who, during the period allotted to mourning for a parent or husband; or who, being attached to either of the acknowledged sacred orders, in the characters of priests or priestesses, are guilty of any species of criminal intercourse, shall suffer punishment two degrees more severely than in ordinary cases between equals; the other party to any such, criminal intercourse shall be punished only in the usual degree. .

SECTION 373. —Criminal Intercourse Between Free Persons and Slaves.

A slave who is in any case guilty of a criminal intercourse with the wife or daughter of a freeman, shall be punished, at the least, one degree more severely than a freeman would have been under the same circumstances.

On the contrary, the punishment of a freeman for having criminal intercourse with a female slave, shall be one degree less than in ordinary cases.

When both parties are slaves, the criminal intercourse shall be punished in the same manner as in the case of free persons.

SECTION 374. —Officers of Government Frequenting the Company of Prostitutes and Actresses.

Civil or military officers of government, and the sons of those who possess hereditary rank, when found guilty of frequenting the company of prostitutes and actresses, shall be punished with 60 blows.

All persons who are guilty of negotiating such criminal meetings and intercourse, shall suffer the punishment next in degree.

SECTION 375. —Strolling Players.

All strolling players who are guilty of purchasing the sons or daughters of free persons, in order to educate them as actors or actresses; or who are guilty of marrying or adopting as children such free persons, shall, in each case, be punished with 100 blows.

All persons who knowingly sell free persons to such strolling players, and all females born of free parents, who voluntarily intermarry with them, shall be punishable in the manner aforesaid.

The person who negotiates the transaction shall in each case suffer the punishment next in degree; the money paid shall always be forfeited to government, and the females shall be sent back to their parents or families.



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