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Sexual Bribery Must Be Made a Crime in China

Chinese academicians and jurists have proposed to revise the cardinal criminal code to include Party and government officials soliciting and accepting "sexual service" as a crime of bribery.

The addition making officials who accept sex bribery in exchange for favours punishable will effectively strengthen the nationwide crackdown on corruption, the China Youth Daily quoted Nanjing University law professor Jin Weidong as saying on Thursday.

Cases of sex being used to officials for illicit gains have been on the rise in recent years, and sexual bribery, like money and goods bribes, is eroding the normal government conducts and jeopardizing society, the paper said.

The law professor at eastern China's Nanjing University recently wrote a paper urging the government to crack down on officials who have sex with women hired by businessmen to entertain them and woo them into granting special permission or licenses.

To date, there is no law in China to punish the officials who accept sexual bribes. Many of the Party members and concurrently government employees face only internal party discipline.

"If it is written down in law that this is illegal, it can increase the effectiveness of the fight against corruption," Jin asserted.

The newspaper report cited one case in which a provincial level leader accepted sexual services from a woman, who then demanded a job in his jurisdiction. Her younger brother, who videotaped the official in bed with the woman, also demanded favours.

It has been discovered that some illegal elements are using women or have even "bought expensive prostitutes" to bribe government officials in an effort to force the public servants to abuse power for their illicit benefits, the newspaper said.

"Sexual bribery sometimes is even more powerful than money and goods bribes," the 32-year-old Jin said.

"The strong allure usually leads to more severe and continuous jeopardy to society by causing corruption, loss of state properties and deterioration of government functions," he said.

However, the existing China's criminal codes confines the definition of the bribery crime to only goods and money offers, those sexual bribers were left at large.

An amendment to include sexual bribery in the crime of bribery is urgently needed in the fight against corruption and the drive to build a clean and honest government, he said.

"Non-goods and non-money interests" have already been included in the punishment of bribery in many countries in Europe, North America and other Asian countries, he argued.

(China Daily, 12/08/2000)

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