Crimes of disseminating obscene articles
Currently, the Criminal Law (CL) in mainland China devotes a section listing the criminal offences involved in the production, sale, or dissemination of obscene articles, with profit-making acts subject to higher penalties. Article 363(1) of the CL specifies three levels of punishment for profit-making acts of producing, duplicating, publishing, selling, or disseminating obscene articles. At the lowest level, a convicted offender will be subjected to a jail term of up to three years, criminal detention, or monitoring by the police. In serious cases, a jail term of three to 10 years will be handed down. In especially serious cases, such criminal acts will be punishable by imprisonment from 10 years to life, and a fine or confiscation of property.
Article 364(1) deals with several acts of disseminating obscene articles for non-profit-making purposes, but such acts will only become criminal and punishable if the circumstances are serious enough. This would mean either that the offender has done such acts before, that the quantities disseminated are large, or that the articles have been shown to large audiences. The harshest penalty is a two-year jail term. Articles 364(2) and 364(3) prohibit both the screening and the production for screening purposes of obscene motion pictures or audiovisuals, and such acts will be punishable in serious cases by imprisonment for three to 10 years, and a fine. Article 364(4) stipulates that anyone who disseminates obscene articles to minors under 18 years of age shall be severely punished. A jail sentence of three to 10 years can be handed down.