Qixi Festival is coming up this weekend, and there’s love in the air to coincide with this newly appropriated “Chinese Valentine’s Day”. And yet, couples must take care to ensure their love remains within the confines of the law.
An unmarried couple spending the night together in Dongguan found themselves in police detention when they were caught up in a raid on prostitution, reports Sina News.
Miss Wang and her boyfriend were staying at a hotel near Jinyue Bay, Dongcheng on July 28 when they received a knock on their door at 11pm. It was a team of police that asked to see their personal identification. Miss Wang didn’t have her personal ID, but showed her driver’s license instead. The police left.
However, they returned 15 minutes later to request the two of them to come down to the police station for further questioning on the suspicion that they were in violation of prostitution laws. The pair was detained by police until 11 am the next day.
The couple has known each other for a year, and are set to be married at the end of this year. They have also purchased a house in Dongguan.
The police confirmed later that no individuals were charged with prostitution offenses that night at the hotel. They said the delay in releasing the couple was due to a computer problem that did not allow them to make a proper identification.
As per Chinese criminal law, municipal police have the right to detain suspects for up to 24 hours in order to conduct an investigation.
This was not the first time a man’s girlfriend has been suspected of being his hired company in Dongguan. The prostitution crackdown that has seen thousands of people arrested resulted in police previously detaining such a couple that were later released.
But perhaps cops are just sensitive because Qixi Festival arrives this weekend, known in traditional Chinese culture as “Girls’ Day” and not the “traditional Chinese Valentine’s Day” it is currently marketed as. Rather than a day in which romantic love is celebrated between couples, Qixi Festival is the traditional day for to celebrate girl culture in China. On this day in history, girls were allowed to roam around freely while they held competitions to see who had the best skills to be the “perfect wife”.
The one romantic aspect of Qixi Festival involves the story of the Cowherd and the Seamstress. The story is about star-crossed lovers who were denied being together except on the one day of the year when the ravens would all fly into the sky, acting as a bridge for the two to briefly meet in the Milky Way.
Who knows? If you are in a Dongguan hotel with your soulmate this Qixi Festival, you too might be denied seeing her.