China: Erotic novel author jailed for producing gay pornography

A CHINESE court sentenced the author of a gay erotic novel to more than a decade in prison on Sunday for producing and selling pornographic material.

“Lady Tianyi,” as her fans called her, wrote more than a dozen novels in a genre known as “boys’ love.” She caught the attention of authorities after her book Gongzhan, translated as Occupy, went viral last year.

Police in her hometown of Wuhu in Anhui province said the novel was “full of perverted sexual acts such as violation and abuse.”

Liu – as the Global Times identifies the author – received the harsh sentence of 10 and a half years in large part due to the popularity of her novel.

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According to South China Morning Post, a judicial interpretation of a pre-internet era law ruled selling more than 5,000 copies of pornographic books or making more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,400) from their sale is regarded as an “especially serious circumstance”, which carries a sentence of “imprisonment for not less than 10 years or life.”

Liu reportedly sold 7,000 copies of Occupy and made a profit of 150,000 yuan (US$21,600).

Free-speech campaigners have slammed the ruling and questioned China’s “flagrant disregard for fundamental human rights.”

“This sentence is clearly outrageous,” Karin Karlekar, PEN America’s Director of Free Expression, said in a statement.

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“Ten years’ imprisonment for the ‘crime’ of writing and self-publishing a book that dares to describe homosexual sex is an obvious and unjustifiable infringement on the freedom to write and the freedom to publish.”

Karlekar called the sentence “draconian” and warned it was sending a “threatening message” to other writers wishing to include LGBT relationships.

The sale of pornography is illegal in China. While homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997, state censors still often impose prohibitions against the depiction of LGBT characters or same-sex relationships.

ChinaFreedom of expressionhuman rights