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International News Archive
June 14 - June 20, 2001


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This page contains news for the period
June 14 through June 20, 2001.



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Sunday, June 17, 2001

Chinese rape victim sues for loss of chastity

A story released today by the Strait Times reports that a Chinese woman is suing a rapist for defiling her chastity. This has sparked heated debates in China on whether there should be a legal right to chastity, as distinct from the right to protect oneself from sexual harm.

Some view the reference to chastity rights as an outdated obsession with maidenhood being a sacred property in unmarried women.

Lawyer Zhou Ji said chastity rights are no more than the right not to be forced into sex, the right to one's health and life, and the right to one's reputation and liberty.

He told the Beijing Youth Daily that the term was 'saturated with feudalistic implications, and so it is better not made eligible for separate legal status'.

Others say chastity rights should not be lumped together with modern notions of sexual rights, which need more proof to make a case of in court.

Judge Liu Jinghua said current provisions could be interpreted as chastity rights but had reservations about whether Huang could say her reputation had been harmed. Instead, society was likely to be sympathetic to her plight, he said.

Judge Ma Qiang, who pointed out that chastity rights exist in German, Taiwan and Japanese law, said they should not be simply included in the categories of life and health rights.

'For a single woman, the trauma could last a lifetime,' he added, in support of high compensation.

Friday, June 15, 2001

Turkish commission approves new civil code for equal rights in marriage

A story released today by the Anatolia News Agency reports that Turkey's Parliamentary Justice Commission has adopted Thursday the draft of the Turkish Civil Code that makes important amendments to the country's family law.

Under the new draft, the husband is no more the head of the family because both husband and wife will have equal rights in marriage. In accordance with the drafted law, husband and wife will choose together the house where they will live.

The draft will also consider the marriage of men and women at the age of 18 but authorizes judges to permit the marriage of men and women at the age of 17 in extraordinary situations.

The draft also grants children born out of wedlock equal rights as "legitimate" children.

The new civil code also permits families that have children the right to adopt a child. People at the age of 30, the new code adds, can also adopt children. The draft envisages a two-year test period for adoption of children.

Additionally, the civil code draft adopts a provision that makes behavior which hurts a person's pride a legitimate reason for the dissolution of a marriage. If the separating couple do not reach a compromise on the use of their property, the judge is authorized to divide or distribute property in the best interest of the children in the marriage.

Both husband and wife can also request subsistence allowance if the other side earns more.


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