Hainan denies lifting ban on porn, gambling

South China’s Hainan Province Sunday said that the local government strictly prohibits activities involving pornography and gambling in response to rumors that Hainan would lift its ban on pornography and gambling.

News that Hainan scrapped local regulations that forbid gambling and prostitution made headlines, with many speculating that the move would legitimize such behaviors in this “modern island.”

The legal committee of the Hainan Provincial People’s Congress (HPPC) said on Saturday that the regulations were scrapped because the new Public Security Administration Punishment Law already provides penalties on such illegal actions. And the previous punishment on those behaviors – reeducation through labor – was abolished in 2013, Legal Daily reported on Monday.

Hainan has strictly prohibited pornography, gambling and drug abuse in the island since it became a separate province in China in 1988, said the committee. The abolished regulations were passed by the standing committee of the HPPC that year.

The Hainan government voted Saturday to abolish 14 local laws and regulations, which included laws and regulations on pornography and gambling, Hainan Daily reported on Sunday.

Legal experts said this misinterpretation reflects certain people’s lack of legal common sense.

The abolition was just a routine work of the local government to make sure local laws and regulations are consistent with the current national legislation, and have no connection with removing bans on gambling and prostitution, Hong Daode, an expert on criminal lawsuits at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Monday.

Hainan received wide attention partly because of its target as a tourist destination and as the country’s pilot free trade zone. People misunderstood the meaning of “openness” for Hainan, Hong said.

Hopefully this event can help provide legal knowledge to the public, according to Hong.