Is Prostitution Illegal In China?

Now Shenzhen   |   October 13, 2023

·About The Author·

  • Author of Chinese Law Books: Intellectual Property, Commercial, Company and Economic Law In A Minute
  • Author of English Law Book Business Law In A Minute
  • Co-Author of Peking University Textbook: Business Ethics
  • Graduated from Fudan University Law School
  • Interviewed by Bloomberg and Timeout
  • Mentor at Bloom Education (Charity)

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CHINA LAW 101: Video 54

This is the 11th video of the Staying Out Of Trouble In China Chapter.


To watch the video, click the image above.

In today’s video, we will talk about whether prostitution is illegal in China.

Prostitution refers to the act of engaging in sexual activities with others in exchange for money or goods. It is an illegal form of sexual transaction that is based on monetary exchange because it is a violation of public order, good customs, and social morality.

In China, prostitution is considered illegal, and the legal consequences, both direct and indirect, can be significant. According to Article 66 of the Public Security Administration Punishment Law, individuals involved in prostitution may be subject to detention for a period of more than 10 days but less than 15 days, and may also be fined up to 5,000 yuan. In less severe cases, the detention period may be up to 5 days or a fine of up to 500 yuan may be imposed. If solicitation for prostitution occurs in public places, the punishment may be up to 5 days of detention or a fine of up to 500 yuan.


This also implies that although individuals involved in prostitution may not face criminal charges, they can still receive administrative penalties. The repercussions of having an administrative record include the potential denial of future residence permits, effectively preventing expats from pursuing their careers in China.

For college students engaged in prostitution, it can have an impact on their academic pursuits. If they receive administrative penalties for prostitution, it will be reported to the school, and the school will take disciplinary actions according to its regulations. In severe cases, it may affect their ability to graduate or even result in expulsion. In September 2020, three postgraduate students at a university in Shanghai were caught engaging in prostitution outside of campus. They were each given a three-day administrative detention and their parents and the university were notified. Subsequently, the university expelled the three students.


Engaging in prostitution may also lead to termination of employment. Administrative detention for prostitution can result in absenteeism from work. If the company's regulations specify provisions for consecutive unexcused absences, the company may terminate the employment contract of an employee involved in prostitution based on its regulations and Article 39(2) of the Labor Contract Law.