Report from Chief Inspector Stubbings (Sinza Police Station) dated March 23, 1935 - Advertisement for Cure of Veneral Disesase. Shanghai, March 23, 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0534).
I beg to forward rough sketches and translation of advertisements on hoardings on Bubbling Well Road opposite Loong Fei Gate and Thibet Road, East on New World Building Site. I am of the opinion that there is nothing in these advertisements that ca be classed indecent of that any offence or breach of regulations are caused by the display that call for police action, but in view of the danger that is usually connected with self treatment of venereal diseases noticed especially among foreigners and the fact that the hoarding are situated in positions where they are seen by a large enumber of foreigners, I consider that is the advertisers could be persuaded to omit English entirely from the advertisements, it would be a great improvement and would remove the possible objection from foreigners who happen to seen them.
S.M.C. Advertisement Register No. 626 - Bubbling Well Road Opposite Loong Fei Gate - GONOCURE. Shanghai, 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0535).
GONOCURE. It is a native medicine. Gospel to the Gonorhoea sufferers. LIAOZOHKONG. A most remarkably medicine for the curing of Gonorrhoea of five colours. Nature mild. Absolutely no reaction. General Agency: Zung Woo Medicine Manufacating Company. 43 Lloyd Road Shanghai. Tel. No. 95790
Municipal Advocate to Deputy Secretary - "Indecent Advertisements on Billboards In re Your No. M13/10." Shanghai, April 1, 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0515-0517).
It is a pleasure to comply with your request for an opinion relative to the above entitled matter.
It appears that two signboards have been erected advertising cures for gonorrhea. The first signabard was erected on Bubbling Well Road, oppoiste the Loong Fee Fate to the Race Course, and contains and advertisement of a medicine known as goncoure". The other sign board is situated on the East side of Thibet Road, near the New World Building and contains an advertisement of a medicine known as "gonolyne". Intuiries at the Revenue office have elicited the information that the Council has issued permits for the signboards in question, if not the advertisements. The general conditions for advertising permits do not contain any provision relative to indecent advertisements. Neither do the specialreglations relatinf to advertisement structures and boards as referred to in Article 10 of the General Conditions of Advertising Permits, contain any reference to indecent advertisements.
The question for opinion, therefore, is whether or not it is an offence under Chinese law, to publicly advertise cures for veneral diseases.
There is no Chinese Law which specifically makes it (p.2/3) makes it an offence to publicly advertise cures for venereal diseases.
We consider that a correct translation of ARticle 251 of the Chinese Criminal Code should read as follows: "Whoever distributes, sells or publicly exposes any lascivious writing, drawing or picture or other article shall be punished with a fine of not more than one thousand yuan". (1000 yuans)
The advertisements of "gonocure" and "gonolyne" are undoubetedly indecent. They cannot, however, be considered to be lascivious writings. The advertisements in question do not, in our opinion, come within the provisions of Article 251 of the Criminal Code.
Article 46, subsection 4, of the Law of Penalties for Breaches of Police Regulations makes it an offence subject to fifteen days's detention or a fne of not more that $15.00 to sell aphrodisiacs, abortive drugs and/or distribute advertisements concerning same. "Gonocure" and "gonolyne" are neither aphoridisiacs nor abortive drugs and consequently do not come within the provisions of Article 46, subsection 4, of the Law of Penalties for Breaches of Police Regulations.
We fear that the fact that the Council has granted a permit for the signboards in question might be a defense.
In view of the foregoing, the opinion iw ewpressed that a prosectution against the Chinese persons placing the advertisements of "gonocure" and "gonolyne" on the signboards in question would be unsucessful/ The further opinion is expressed that it is not an offense under Chinese law to publicly advertise curse for veneraeal diseases.
Bye-Law 33, among other things, provides as follows:
(p.3/3) "No person shall *** erect any *** signboards *** abutting on any municipal road without a permit first obtained therefor from the Municipal Council/"
It appears to us that this Bye-Law grants to the Council the right to make reasonable regulations regarding the kind of advertisements placed on signboards. As to whether or not a reglulation prohibiting the placing of advertisements of cures for venereal diseases on signboards would be reasonable is a question which we will not consider until our opinion is requested.
Deputy Secretary to Municipal Advocate - Indecent Advertisements on Billboards. Shanghai, March 26, 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0531).
Indecent Advertisements on Billboards. With reference to the attached Police file, which is self-explanatory, I should very much appreciate your opinion as to whether the Council could take successful action under Chinese Law to prohibit billboard advertisements of an offensive nature, such as those referred to.
Kindly return the file at your convenience.
Report by Divisional Office. Shanghai, March 23, 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0532).
These advertisements, in my opinion, do not go beyond "vulgar" and I do not think there is any legal remedy. With tact, we might at least have them modified to appear less objectionable, but unecessful prosecution would make matters worse. Advertisements of a similar nature or equally glaring appear in the "Chinese Press" daily.