A Lone Swinger Awaits Verdict in China

Please note: Undoing multiple half-dressed women’s bras at the mall is kosher in China, partner-swapping in the privacy of one’s own home is not. Last month, twenty-two Chinese swingers went on trial in the southeastern city of Nanjing. They were accused of “group licentiousness,” and all but one man plead guilty to the charge. A verdict is expected this week for that man, Ma Yaohai, who is fighting for his right to sexually party.

Ma is a 53-year-old computer science professor, and he’s arguing that there’s nothing wrong with consenting adults meeting in private places to do their thing. “What happens in my house is a private matter,” he has said. “I didn’t do anything that hurt anybody else. I didn’t force anyone else.” His defiance has sparked a deeper debate about sexual and personal freedom in rapidly-changing China.

Ma used his tech skills to setup an internet chatroom for swingers called “Traveling Couples” (his screen name was “bighornyfire”). He also sometimes held orgies in the apartment he shared with his mother, who has Alzheimer’s. A verdict is expected tomorrow in his case. If convicted, he could face five years in prison. Meanwhile, a woman in China who won a contest for quickly freeing scantily clad women from their bras in a shopping mall took home a gift certificate for $146. There is no justice in this world.