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Porn at Home Leads to Red-hot Privacy Debate
All the couple did was to cozy up and watch hot stuff in the cool confines of home. But it has turned into a heated debate on privacy, police behavior and human rights, says China Business View.

Zhang and Li were watching a pornographic VCD at their home in Yan'an City in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province on August 18 when - it is believed - a sneaky neighbor tipped off the police with an anonymous call.

So four officers from the Wanhuashan police station were promptly dispatched and spied the steamy stuff on screen from the back window.

They knocked at the front door and went straight to the "scene of the crime", only to find the TV screen switched off.

The police demanded that the "incriminating evidence" be handed over but the bold couple threatened to throw the videodiscs at them.

Zhang, apparently a man of action, picked up a wooden stick to hit officer Shang Jibing's head - he dodged and was injured on the arm.

For preventing the police from discharging their duty, the couple were led to the station. Three porno discs and the player were confiscated as evidence.

But Zhang, who seemed familiar with legal nitty-gritty, said that even though the police were dressed in uniforms, they were not wearing their number badges or caps when they raided his home.

So, Zhang admitted - in classic understatement - he tried to reason with a stick when the officers were trying to remove the discs from the player.

All of which has become great grist for the legal mill.

One lawyer said since there is no ban on people watching such stuff at home, the couple did not violate any law.

Another said since the discs were deemed "illicit" and their production and sale banned, they could be seized even from a home and that the couple should be fined.

The China Youth Daily weighed in: Since the Security Administration Punishment Act has no clear definition that the couple's behavior violates the law, it should not be deemed "unlawful".

In a country ruled by law, citizens' personal freedoms and privacy should be protected and the police castigated, it added.

The debate continues.

(China Daily HK Edition August 30, 2002)

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