TAIWAN: 'Beast Love' academic faces charge

Professor Josephine Ho was indicted for posting a link to a bestiality portal on a university Web site, but she says it was all in the name of research

Taipei Times
Sunday, December 7, 2003

By Jimmy Chuang

Taipei prosecutors indicted National Central University English Professor Josephine Ho for offences against morality on Friday night after she posted a link on her university Web site to a bestiality portal earlier this year

Ho immediately issued a statement saying that different points of view on the dividing line between pornography and academic research should not be decided or judged by the law.

"Our Constitution protects people's freedom of speech, which includes academic research," Ho said. "I am worried that the case will become an obstacle for many other students or professors when they are processing their academic research in the future because of moral pressure."

In the statement, Ho said that she had explained to prosecutors that intercourse between humans and animals does exist. She said that this was the topic under research and also the reason why she posted the link to the "Beast Love" Web site. She said that it had nothing to do with pornography. Ho added she had removed the link as soon as the story appeared in newspapers earlier this year.

Taipei Prosecutor Yu Hsiu-duan did not suggest any sentence for Ho in her indictment.

Ho posted a link to "Beast Love," an Internet portal detailing intercourse between humans and animals, on the Web site of the university's Center for the Study of Sexuality where Ho has served as director for the past four years.

The site, which features graphic pictures and a manual on how to have sex with animals, sparked discussion on the fine line between pornography and academic research.

On June 23, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tseng Tsai Mei-tsuo filed a morality suit against Ho.

Lawyer Hsu Wen-bin said yesterday that there was no winner or loser in the case.

"From a prosecutors' points of view, they want to take the advantage of the case to remind the public that there should be a big gap between pornography and academic research. However, it is also very difficult to define that," Hsu said.