Rape in China

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In 2007, the U.S. Department of State reported 31,833 rapes in China, but no similar report by the Chinese government has been made available.[1]Same-sex sexual assault between males was made illegal in late 2015.[2]


During the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), rape was very difficult to prove. A woman who was sexually attacked had to prove that she had offered the utmost resistance and fought vigorously throughout the entire ordeal. Failure to do so would expose the woman herself to criminal prosecution for being complicit in "consensual illicit intercourse".[3]

Prevalence, analysis and statistics[edit]

Annual rape and all forms of sexual assaults per 100,000 people.

Rape in China is not widely discussed in the media. Luo Tsun-yin, a social psychologist at Shih Hsin University in Taiwan, asserts that fewer than one in 10 rape cases in China are reported.[1][4]

The 2013 Multi-country Study on Men and Domestic Violence asked men in China if they had ever coerced a female partner into having sex (including alcohol facilitated rape). 22.2% said yes. 9.3% had done so in the past year. 19.4% raped their partner. 55% of the men who had raped had done so more than once and 9% had have so on four or more partners. 86% cited sexual entitlement as their motive (the highest percentage in the study) and 57% answered that they raped out of boredom. 72.4% experienced no legal consequences. 1.7% had raped another man. 25.1% who had raped reported first doing so as a teenager. 2.2% admitted to having committed gang rape.[5] A report conducted by the All-China Women’s federation estimated that close to forty percent of Chinese women who are involved in a relationship or are married experience physical or sexual violence.[6]

There are numerous cases of sexual assault are unrecorded. The survey of previous paragraph has updated some new information, it turns out that 22.7 percent of males acknowledged that they had raped a woman before. Further, only 24.9 percent of Chinese sexual culprits were in custody while other countries surveyed had average 32.5 percent. In addition, only 15.6 percent of Chinese criminals were sent to jail while other countries had average 22.9 percent. The data shows Chinese reports for sexual assault is lower than other countries in Asia Pacific region, but in fact it is not the truth.[7]

Recent research has found that there is no existing psychometric measure assessing attitudes toward rape in China. For example, researchers found that men endorse the view that revealing clothing conveys consent for sex.[8]

Social stigma cast on victims of rape[edit]

Victims of rape in China often remain silent and do not report the crime because traditional culture holds that being raped is shameful and should be kept private.[9] Popular activist Guo Jianmei told the story of a villager who raped over 100 women, and asserted that "not one of them spoke up." In another incident, a girl and her mother tried to register a complaint against a rapist, but Zhong Xiancong, a police official, did not register it and suggested to the victim, "To protect your reputation, you should forget about the whole thing."[10]

Rape is regarded as taboo in Chinese culture, and the victim is often rejected by society, as the culture views women as solely responsible for the rape. One American victim of rape in China stated that she felt she would have been prosecuted by the state if she had tried to speak out against the rape.[4]


The laws against rape in China have been criticized by some, including Guo Jianmei, who noted that weaknesses in the legal system make it possible for certain rapists to escape justice.[10] Same-sex rape was not illegal until 2015 in China, and legal loopholes previously allowed child rapists to escape with light sentences.[11]

In 2011, a man who raped another man was convicted of "intentional injury" rather than rape, as non-consensual same-sex sexual conduct was not defined as a sexual offense.[12][13]

In November 2015 ChinaDaily reported another same-sex case which happened in Luzhou city, Sichuan province. In this case, a man robbed and raped another man, but did not face sanction for the crime of sexual assault.[14]

In November 2015 Xinhua reported that the criminal code was amended to include the sexual assault and rape of men, citing the above case. In addition, sex with underaged (defined as under 14 years of age) prostitutes was reclassified as rape.[15][16]

In recent years some additional legislation has been passed. The Draft Law was the first to define domestic violence in China, and its benefits include outlining how to obtain restraining orders, and providing guidelines to officials such as judges and police officers with how to handle cases of domestic violence in congruity with the law. However, there are weaknesses in this law as it only covers family members, and excludes protection for unmarried, divorced, dating, and LGBTQ partners. It also doesn’t attempt to combat economic abuse which is all too easily perpetrated illegally under China’s marriage law. The Draft Law falls significantly short of international standards, including those of surrounding Asian countries.[17]

The majority of the Asian region has progresses towards a “second generation of lawmaking,” adopting a more comprehensive definition of violence consistent with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW) definition. China’s current laws are significantly more restricted, seemingly with policies predating the Beijing Declaration.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Marquez, Paxcely (7 May 2009). "Rape in China". US-China Today. University of Southern California. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  2. ^ Cowburn, Ashley (4 November 2015). "'Male rape' now a crime in China". Independent. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  3. ^ Ng, V. W. (1987). "Ideology and sexuality: rape laws in Qing China" (PDF). The Journal of Asian Studies. 46 (1): 57–70. doi:10.2307/2056666.
  4. ^ a b "I was Raped in China (An American's Perspective)". Yahoo Voices. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. ^ Fulu, E., Warner, X., Miedema, S., Jewkes, R., Roselli, T., & Lang, J. (2013). Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it. Quantitative Findings from the United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific (PDF). Bangkok: United Nations. pp. 40, 43–45. ISBN 978-974-680-360-1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ De Silva de Alwis R, Klugman J. Freedom from violence and the law: a global perspective in light of the Chinese domestic violence law, 2015. University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. 2015 Nov;37(1):1-52
  7. ^ Ligao, Nie. "Tough facts about rape in China[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  8. ^ Xue J, Fang G, Huang H, Cui N, Rhodes KV, Gelles R. Rape myths and the cross-cultural adaptation of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale in China. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2016 5. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516651315
  9. ^ Uking (18 April 2011). "Rape victims choose silence over losing face". China Daily USA. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b LaFraniere, Sharon (22 September 2011). "Rape Case Is a Rarity in Chinese Justice System". New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  11. ^ Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (9 December 2013). "China to End Loophole in Child Rape Law, Experts Say". New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Male rape case may be China's first". UPI. 5 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Man rapes man in China; escapes conviction". Rediff.com News. 5 January 2011.
  14. ^ 刘小卓. "Male rape now a crime after law revision - China - Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  15. ^ Xinhua (15 November 2015). "Male rape now a crime after law revision". Xinhua. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  16. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/china-makes-male-rape-a-crime-a6718276.html
  17. ^ De Silva de Alwis R, Klugman J. Freedom from violence and the law: a global perspective in light of the Chinese domestic violence law, 2015. University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. 2015 Nov;37(1):1-52
  18. ^ e Silva de Alwis R, Klugman J. Freedom from violence and the law: a global perspective in light of the Chinese domestic violence law, 2015. University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. 2015 Nov;37(1):1-52