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False Adultery: the Phenomenon of False Accusations of Sexual Assault in Daily Life in the Qing Dynasty -- Centered on Ba County of Sichuan Province

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DOI: 10.25236/emss.2021.008


Daxin Du

Corresponding Author

Daxin Du


In the Qing Dynasty, chastity was advocated in society, but it was common to frame others up for sexual assault in the folk society. The reason can be understood as the result of the interaction between the people, local forces and the government in the judicial field of the Qing Dynasty. For common people, although the law in the Qing Dynasty punished adultery and false accusations quite harshly, they had sufficient motives and skills to circumvent legal restrictions and framed others up in the face of daily disputes where their interests were at stake. For local forces, the dual roles of mediators and makers limited their impact, and made cases of false accusations of sexual assault need to be judged by magistrates in court. For the magistrates, false accusations of sexual assault that should have been severely punished had been leniently dealt with because of the tradition of quelling the litigation and the strategy of avoiding trial responsibility. This reduces the risk cost of this act and in turn stimulates it.


Qing dynasty; Folk society; Falsely accused of sexual assault; Ba county