Reports of a recent legal case in China say a man was sentenced to 10-months in prison for misbehavior that would not be a crime in the U.S. but that many U.S. troops likely think should be. 

A court in the city of Dunhau, according to a series of reports from Asia-based media, sent a local man to prison after he carried on an affair with the wife of a soldier deployed with the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA.

The convict’s name was reported as “Ma,” though his story would translate perfectly in U.S. military mythology as one about “Qiáo dí” — the Chinese translation of “Jody,” the folkloric name for a civilian ne’er-do-well and hometown lothario that plants doubt and fear in the hearts of deployed troops.

Jody’s legacy, as nearly every member of the U.S. military past and present knows, is celebrated in cautionary running cadence songs and foxhole humor. While you’re at war or deployed or just at work, Jody might be drinking your beer or driving your “Cadillac” or, worst of all, stealing your hometown significant other.

In the traditional U.S. military version of Jody, there is almost nothing a deployed troop can do about Jody’s amorous advances, as reflected in the resigned lyrics of many running cadences like, “ain’t no use in going home, Jody got your girl and gone.”

Not so in China, apparently. They may not recognize international maritime law in the Taiwan Strait, but they know how to handle a Jody.

According to the South China Morning Post, “Ma met a woman, surnamed Yuan, who was his former colleague, in 2022, and the pair had sex the same day. When Yuan told Ma she was married and that her husband was a PLA soldier, Ma did not take it seriously at first and told others that she was his girlfriend.”

Classic Jody.

“Sometime later, when Yuan told Ma it is a crime to fornicate with her, Ma decided to end the romantic relationship immediately.”

Soooooo Jody. Wants none of that smoke.

“However, they dated again a month later because Ma said he could not help missing the woman. They then lived together at Ma’s home.”

That’s Jody — just can’t help himself.

For U.S. troops, Ma’s prototypical Jody-behavior likely has a familiar ring, either through personal experience or stories passed around a formation.

But there’s no revenge like Jody-revenge.

“The husband then checked surveillance cameras in their residential community when he returned home for a holiday, witnessed her infidelity and called in the police,” the Post reported.

The result, the Post said, was a 10-month sentence under China’s National Defense Law.

Confirming the story of the jailed Jody is difficult, though similar reports of punished adultery have leaked out of China in the past.

A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. told Task & Purpose that they could not confirm the details of the Dunhau story, but did provide links to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, which includes specific coverage of marriages of active duty service members:

“Article 259 —Whoever knowingly cohabits with or marries a person who is the spouse of a serviceperson in active service shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than 3 years or short-term custody.”

The South China Morning Post was for decades a major independent Hong Kong-based newspaper, but in 2016 was bought by Alibaba Holdings, a retail and tech conglomerate closely tied to the Chinese government. Though it retains a large staff and editorial reach, its newsroom has been accused of advancing Chinese propaganda and providing mainland authorities with a platform to spread soft power.

Just like Jody, am I right?!?

There are very few laws and little enforcement against adultery in the U.S. for civilians, but military members often face punishment for stepping out on their own marriage or breaking up another. In 2021, the Army investigated reports that an officer invented deployments and on-duty travel to cheat on his wife. Also in 2021, an Air Force General was busted down two ranks for having three affairs before and during his divorce, one of which ended in public chaos at the unit he commanded, per an Air Force investigation, as “the woman’s house was egged and an unknown person left a message on [his] vehicle that warned, ‘We know.’”

Let this be a lesson to Sino-Jodys, if not our own: ain’t no use in feelin’ blue, you’re going to jail if you do.

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