Adultery Law in the People’s Republic of China

Weird ass adultery laws from around the globe.

A Chinese woman in a red dress holds her face and looks at the camera.
Photo by yang miao on Unsplash

Women who cheat in China are nicknamed Pan Jin Lian, after a girl in a folk tale.

Pan Jin Lian was a beauty from a bankrupt family who was forced to marry an ugly dwarf farmer. She eventually cheats on him with a hotty and together, they kill hub. Adding some mystery, the lover was coached how to woo her by a deceitful neighbor.

So it’s not the most flattering reference, which speaks to the general distaste the Chinese have for cheaters.

So what’s getting caught stepping out in the world’s second biggest economy like?

Let’s have a look.


In 2006 a full 74% of women and 60% of men said extramarital sex was unacceptable. When those who thought cheating was somewhat unacceptable was added to the first number, 95% of Chinese women and men were against adultery.

So no fan clubs there.


In 2015, Peking University found that approximately 20% of married Chinese play away. They found men and women cheated in equal numbers — yay equality!

Marriage Loyalty Agreements

Many young married people in China will sign what’s called a Loyalty Agreement on their wedding day. It isn’t mandatory or a contract, but the couple commits to loyalty and writes down what they’ll pay if they screw around.

Pro tip — skip it.


Article 46 of China’s marriage law says, “an aggrieved party only has the right to claim compensation when a divorce is filed on the grounds of wrongdoing such as domestic violence or an extramarital affair.

So, within three minutes of reading Article 46, the aggrieved party digs out the wedding stuff to get at the… Loyalty Agreement. And then turns to their abacus to crunch the numbers.

In China, marital assets are joint, so if hub said he’d buy a car for cheating, but they don’t divorce, she gets zip. The courts won’t move joint assets around without a divorce proceeding.

The Court’s View of Adultery

The courts in recent years have sided with the victims of adultery. The laws prevent men and their mistresses from cashing in too hard on the offended party.

And the girlfriend, or “little third,” as they’re called, can’t sue to keep the goodies her playboy gave her.

Sugar Babies beware.

Adultery As a Crime

Consensual sex with a military officer’s spouse is a crime per Article 259of the Criminal Law, and can land a person in prison for three-years.

If they hold a position of authority over her military officer hub, it’s rape.

Pro tip — stay away from the army.

Party Purity

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members are subject to Article 150 of the CCP Discipline Regulations. The most lenient punishment for adultery is a severe warning.

But, depending on who or what you were doing, members can be kicked out of the party and lose their jobs.

And remember, you can’t accept bribes if you don’t have a Party job.

How Did it Work Out For Pan Jin Lian?

She was murdered by hub’s bro when he caught wind of the drama. He killed her lover and the neighbor too, and then brought their severed heads to his bro’s grave.

Basically it’s the old, “love triangle ends in misogynistic blood bath,”storyline we’re all familiar with.

Male cheaters don’t get nicknames, or have any 17th Century cautionary tales written about them — color me surprised.

Bottom Line

Adultery isn’t a crime in China (mostly), which is nice, but the people don’t like it. It can cost big moola, property, jobs, or prison time, if you get caught.

Pan Jin Lian didn’t escape with her lover or her life, which reminds us there are no happy endings in the Far East, or anywhere else.

Here’s something else they do in China sometimes —Dip in a Pig Cage–Adultery Punishments in China
When “sink the pink” becomes “sink the pig”

If you don’t want to get caught, check out my book —How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress
How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress – Kindle edition by Conway, TJ. Download it once and read it on your…

Or have a look through our totally FREE Adultery Academy here —Welcome to the Adultery Academy!
If you’re thinking about cheating, you’ve come to the right

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© Teresa J. Conway, 2020

By Teresa J Conway on .

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Exported from Medium on April 8, 2021.

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts.

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