So its not just China, in many parts of the world there are laws you can break and laws that you shouldn’t break. For example in the USA, if you murder someone you WILL be brought to court. If you evade taxes, the IRS will get you for that. However, lesser illegal acts like smoking weed or downloading illegal torrents online isn’t likely to get you anything more than just a warning.
In China its similar. If you organize a protest, you will get arrested for that. Drug dealing? yup that’s a big offense. But if you get it on with some prostitutes in a karaoke even though prostitution is technically illegal, no one’s gonna care. distribute some games or movies illegally, no one’s gonna care. Visit some foreign websites using a VPN which millions do in China even though you’re not supposed to, no one cares. All depends on the degree of the crime of course.
Not all illegal acts are equal, and it widely depends on the country. Consequences for smoking weed or doing drugs is ALOT worse in Asia than it is in America.