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Chinese writer sentenced to 10 years in jail for writing, selling gay erotic fiction

/ 04:56 PM November 19, 2018
Prison

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A writer from China was given ten and a half years of jail term for writing and selling a gay erotic novel. The book, entitled “Occupy”, was published in 2017 and has since sold over 7,000 copies over the internet.

The writer, surnamed Liu but popularly known by her online alias Tianyi, was given the sentence last month in October. Her novel depicted a love affair between a teacher and a student, as per an Anhui television station via South China Morning Post on Nov. 18. Aside from the forbidden love element, Liu’s novel also included “graphic depictions of male homosexual sex scenes” as well as violence.

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It is illegal to produce, disseminate and sell pornography in China, but Liu’s heavy sentence has sparked outcry on social media, with many pointing out that heavier crimes such as rape, violence and manslaughter had lower sentences. As per the report, many rapists under mainland China’s criminal law are only made to serve a jail term of three to ten years.

The basis of Liu’s sentencing is an interpretation issued by China’s Supreme Court. Selling more than 5,000 copies of pornographic books or earning more than 10,000 yuan ($1,400) from said books, as per the statement, is considered an “especially serious circumstance” which carries a sentence of imprisonment of no less than 10 years or life.

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Liu, since her book’s production, has sold more than 5,000 copies and earned around 150,000 yuan (over $21,000) from sales. It was noted, however, that the judicial interpretation is ten years old, having been issued back in 1998.

Netizens and lawyers have since called for the revision of the interpretation, saying that it was outdated and is no longer reasonably applicable to the present day.

“It’s out of touch with all the changes that have taken place in society,” Deng Queping, a lawyer at Capital Equity Legal Group, said in the report.

Deng found Liu’s sentence too heavy, adding, “The social harm of pornographic books might not be as grave as the legislators had thought initially. Nowadays, pornography is ubiquitous.” Cody Cepeda/JB

RELATED STORIES: 

Children’s books with LGBT themes stripped from library shelves by HK gov’t 

Gay-themed drama series taken down by Chinese gov’t 

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Last bookshop in HK selling titles banned by China’s communist party shuts down 

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TAGS: Censorship, China, erotic literature, erotica, fiction, Freedom of Speech, gay erotica, LGBTQ community, Pornography
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