‘Breaking a military marriage’: 10 months’ jail for man in China who had affair with wife of PLA soldier on active duty

‘Breaking a military marriage’: 10 months’ jail for man in China who had affair with wife of PLA soldier on active duty

A man in China has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for destroying a “military marriage” by dating and cohabiting with the wife of a serving People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier.

China’s Criminal Law stipulates that anyone cohabiting or marrying another person in knowledge that he or she is the spouse of a PLA soldier will face imprisonment of up to three years.

The punishment is so harsh because the state is obliged not only to give special protection to the marriage of a soldier, but also to respect and protect the honour of serving members of the military, according to China’s National Defence Law.

The People’s Court Daily reported that a man surnamed Ma was handed the 10-month jail term by a court in Dunhua, in the northeastern province of Jilin, for the crime of destroying a military marriage.

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China’s National Defence law serves to respect and protect the honour of serving members of the military. Photo: Reuters

Ma met a woman surnamed Yuan, who was his former colleague, in 2022, and the pair had sex the same day.

When Yuan told Ma she was married and that her husband was a PLA soldier, Ma did not take it seriously at first and told others that Ma was his girlfriend.

Some time later, when Yuan told Ma it is a crime to fornicate with her, Ma decided to end the romantic relationship immediately.

However, they dated again a month later because Ma said he could not help missing the woman. They then lived together at Ma’s home.

Yuan then asked her husband, who was living in another city while serving in the PLA, for a divorce, which raised his suspicion that she was having an affair.

Li then checked surveillance cameras in their residential community when he returned home for a holiday, witnessed her infidelity and called in the police.

Ma’s admission of the crime in court meant he was given a more lenient sentence, the report said.

An editorial in the People’s Court Daily said soldiers generally live far away from home and can not take care of their families. Therefore, it is “immoral and criminal” to take advantage of their absence to destroy their marriage.

“With their marriage jeopardized, soldiers’ mindset will be affected and the army’s fighting capacity will be weakened,” the editorial said.

“As a result, it is vital to protect the stability of a military marriage. Any activity which leads to breaking a military marriage should be punished seriously.”

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Mainland actress Zhang Xinyu received official praise when she married a People’s Liberation Army officer six years ago. Photo: Instagram/@Zhang Xinyu

The country’s protection for military marriages ends when their service finishes.

In 2018, mainland actress Zhang Xinyu married a PLA officer and received praise from China Discipline Inspection Newspaper which is administered by the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Committee.

Besides soldiers’ marriages, China’s laws also grant children of PLA members soldiers some additional scores in important tests, such as the high school and university entrance examinations.

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