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Dongguan denies cracking down on 'illegal' cohabitants

2014-02-24 08:38 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Police in Dongguan, Guangdong province on Saturday rejected online reports that they had detained 7,000 people who had "illegally" been living together.

On Saturday evening, the police published a post on their official Sina Weibo account saying that the claims, originally made on Friday, were false.

The Friday post said that the Humen town of Dongguan was carrying out a raid on people who were "illegally" cohabiting and those who could not provide marriage certificates would be detained for three months. "Police will soon check the city's urban area. 7,000 have been caught in Dalang, Tangxia, Humen, Dongkeng and Huangjiang," the post said.

A home owner surnamed Wang who lives in Houjie town said she had seen no indications the police were cracking down. Some other home owners from Nanwu village, Chenwu village and Santun village also said they hadn't heard of any crackdown.

The Dongguan Public Security Bureau said Saturday that as long as the people were in a loving relationship and there was no pornography on their property, then there was no problem and it had only been a rumor that people caught living together without marriage certificates would be arrested, The Beijing News reported.

Dongguan police also reminded the public not to make, spread or trust the rumors in the Saturday post.

Li Fenfei, an associate professor with the Renmin University of China, said that according to China's laws, a married person who openly lives with another person is guilty of the crime of "illegal cohabitation," which is classed as bigamy.

This, however, is a civil case, he said, and a court would only accept the case if people sued.

"Illegal cohabitation has never been a criminal activity, generally illegal cohabitation will not be punished unless there are monetary transactions involved," said Liang Hongliang, a lawyer from the Beijing Weiyu Law Firm.

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