BEIJING -- The Chinese government plans to enforce a ban on extramarital sex, especially between foreigners and Chinese, in an effort to prevent the spread of AIDS, health officials said.
Violators will be subject to detention of up to 15 days, compulsory re-education and fines, according to regulations introduced earlier this year.
'China does not allow people to have sexual relations with foreigners or with Chinese outside marriage,' Zeng Yi, deputy director of the China Institute of Preventative Medicine, said Monday.
'Extramarital sexual relations are illegal,' he said. 'Even one evening or one day is illegal, because China does not allow it.'
The official magazine Beijing Review said Monday Beijing is adopting a series of measures 'strictly forbidding illegal sexual contacts with foreigners' to prevent the spread of the deadly acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Earlier this year, the Public Security Bureau issued a set of 'Regulations on Public Order' making casual sex illegal in China.
'Prostitution, whoring following an introduction, abetting prostitution and whoring are strictly forbidden and offenders face a maximum 15 days detention, a warning, re-education and a maximum fine of 5,000 yuan ($1,350),' says Article 30 of the regulations.
Sinologists said 'whoring' covers casual sexual relations not involving payment. The strict laws against sexual promiscuity are part of China's effort to restrain population growth.
In recent weeks, several foreigners, including at least four Americans, were briefly detained by police and fined for entertaining Chinese in their hotel rooms.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy warned American visitors that foreigners who have sexual relations with Chinese may be detained by police, interrogated and heavily fined. The notice said Chinese authorities consider it a violation of their regulations for hotel guests to entertain people of the opposite sex in their rooms.
Beijing Review said, however, that Chinese medical studies indicated the threat of AIDS in China is not great, because 'in socialist China, the main means of spreading the virus -- homosexuality, casual sexual contacts and drug addiction -- are opposed by both the government and public opinion.'
Nevertheless, Beijing is trying to prevent the entry and spread of AIDS and 'precautions are the effective way to check the deadly virus,' the magazine said.
It said China would also improve public information programs about the deadly virus, strengthen quarantine regulations and refuse entry to AIDS carriers.
Beijing already requires foreign residents to undergo an AIDS test and has banned the import of blood, blood products and second-hand clothes.
Officials say there currently are four documented cases of AIDS in China. The four victims are hemophiliacs who tested positive for AIDS antibodies in nationwide random testing.
Beijing earlier reported two AIDS fatalities, the first in 1985 when an Argentinian tourist died in Beijing, and the second in February involving a Chinese who had returned to southeast Fujian Province after 10 years in the United States.
Chinese scientists believe that traditional herbal medicines could be a safe and effective way of treating the deadly virus, the Xinhua news agency said.