Chinese writer Tianyi jailed for 10 years over gay erotic novel

Book features ‘obscene sexual behaviour between males’

Adam Forrest
Monday 19 November 2018 15:25
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The Chinese Supreme People’s Court, where a ruling used to convict the author was passed in 1998
The Chinese Supreme People’s Court, where a ruling used to convict the author was passed in 1998

An author who published an erotic novel featuring gay sex scenes has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in China.

Using the alias Tianyi, the female writer published the novel Occupy in 2017 and sold it on China’s popular online platform Taobao.

But the work of fiction – which reportedly features gay sex scenes between a male teacher and male school pupil – ran afoul of the country’s strict pornography laws.

Tianyi was sentenced to 10 years and six months for producing and selling obscene material by a court in Anhui province.

The woman’s real surname was identified as Liu by state media as details of the case emerged this week.

A 1998 ruling by China’s Supreme People’s Court forbids anyone to profit from the sale of pornography.

Ms Liu’s book sold 7,000 copies and made the author 150,000 yuan (£17,000) before it was banned by the authorities, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

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The novel describes “obscene sexual behaviour between males” and was full of “perverted acts like violation and abuse”, said the state-backed newspaper the Global Times.

But the length of the writer’s prison sentence provoked outrage among legal advocates and users of China’s popular media platform Weibo.

“The author deserves sympathy. She did violate criminal law, but even a one-year sentence is too much, not to mention 10 years,” said sociologist Li Yinhe.

Deng Xueping, a Shanghai-based lawyer at Capital Equity Legal Group, said the punishment had been too harsh and judicial interpretation of pornography laws needed to be revised.

“It’s out of touch with all the changes that have taken place in society,” he said. “The social harm of pornographic books might not be as grave as the legislators had thought initially. Nowadays, pornography is ubiquitous.”

According to Australia’s ABC News, four other Chinese citizens involved in the publication of Occupy received prison sentences between 10 months and 10 and a half years.

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