GUANGZHOU - A 17-year-old girl who is suspected of participating in group sex parties has been put on trial in Dongguan No 2 People's Court in Guangzhou.
Li Jie (alias), a sophomore at Houjie vocational school, is being charged with group licentiousness in Dongguan.
In the public indictment, the prosecution said Li, who repeatedly had sex with several male students on one occasion, committed group licentiousness.
But Wang Xiaodong, Li's lawyer from Dongguan Guofeng Law Firm, said the crime of group licentiousness is still controversial under the law.
Wang said he pleaded Li not guilty according to the relevant laws and facts in the case.
"Li did not participate in the group sex parties of her own accord," Wang told China Daily on Tuesday.
He refused to give more details on the case due to its sensitive nature.
However, police officers from Houjie township claim that Li participated in the group sex parties of her own accord on several occasions.
Li's father said his daughter participated in the group sex parties after she was forced to take the drug ketamine. She was then filmed against her will and the footage was used to try to blackmail her into attending additional parties.
"My daughter is actually the victim in the case, instead of the defendant," the father said.
He sought help from the police after his daughter's case was exposed in March, by which time footage of the incident had spread via the Internet.
The court hearing opened on Monday and a verdict has yet to be returned.
The special case has sparked controversy among legal personnel in Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Qiao Sen, director of Guangdong Mingzhi Law Firm, said the evidence used to charge Li with group licentiousness is unconvincing.
"Li is still a minor and she should primarily be educated to amend her ways," Qiao said.
In contrast, Hu Qigen, a lawyer from Guanxin Law Firm, said the police did not break any laws or regulations in detaining Li and bringing her to trial to improve social morality.
Li Yinhe, a sociologist and sexologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the crime of group licentiousness should be written off, since most of the people who have previously been charged with the offense participated in the group sex parties of their own accord.
Li's case became public after a video showing her engaging in sex with three male students was posted on the Internet in late February.
Once authorities at Li's school became aware of it, she was asked to quit or transfer to another school on March 1.
Li's father then took his daughter to Houjie branch of Dongguan public security bureau in search of help on March 9.
Li was detained for organizing group sex parties on March 15. She was released on bail, pending the trial, after being held in detention for 25 days.
Last month, a college professor in East China's Jiangsu province was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for organizing group sex parties.
Ma Yaohai, 53, and 21 other people were the first group in two decades to be convicted of group licentiousness, which some sociologists believe to be a private moral issue, rather than a legal one.
Under the country's Criminal Law, the maximum sentence for the crime is five years in jail.