China toughens laws, but reduces crimes subject to death: Xinhua - Channel NewsAsia
China repealed the crime of sex with prostitutes who are underage and instead made it rape, a crime subject to harsher punishment, Xinhua said.
Previously under the law, people who had sex with prostitutes aged below 14 years old faced a maximum of 15 years in prison, according to the agency. It added that those convicted of raping a child may face the death sentence.
Prostitution is illegal in China but an estimated several million sex workers operate from establishments including karaoke bars, hair salons, saunas and massage parlours.
China's public security ministry ordered a nationwide crackdown on the sex trade last year following an expose of a city known for prostitution amid criticism that authorities long turned a blind eye.
The NPC also approved the removal of the death penalty for nine crimes, Xinhua said.
These include smuggling of weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials and counterfeit currency; the counterfeiting of currency; fraudulently raising funds; arranging for a person or forcing a person to carry out prostitution; the obstruction of duty of a police officer; and creating rumours during wartime to to mislead people.
Xinhua said that the maximum penalty for those crimes would become life in prison.