Metro Weekly

Chinese author jailed for 10 years after writing novel featuring gay sex

Officials objected to a book that contained "male homosexual behaviour"

Photo: pecchio.nero, via Wikimedia.

A Chinese author has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for writing a novel featuring gay sex.

The writer, who the BBC identified as Liu, wrote a novel, Occupation, featuring “obscene material,” according to a court in Anhui province.

That obscenity was defined as “male homosexual behaviour… including perverted sexual acts like violation and abuse” by the People’s Court of Wuhu.

Liu, who writes under the alias Tian Yi, was jailed after police were alerted to online sales of her novel. According to Global Times, Liu had sold over 7,000 copies and made over $20,000 in profit.

Pornography is illegal in China, and Liu was sentenced because she had both made and sold the “obscene material.”

However, news of Liu’s sentencing has been met with outrage from some on social media in the country.

The BBC reported that one user wrote “10 years for a novel? That’s too much,” on Chinese social media site Weibo.

Another user contrasted Liu’s sentence with an official who was sentenced in 2013 to eight years in prison after raping a four-year-old girl.

“Those found guilty of rape get less than 10 years in jail,” the user wrote. “This writer gets 10 years.”

While pornography is illegal in China, homosexuality is not — though some parts of the country still have conservative attitudes which can lead to occasional government discrimination.

And Weibo itself was in the news earlier this year, after the website had to backtrack from plans to purge LGBTQ-related content.

The microblogging platform — China’s version of Twitter — had announced plans to remove content with “pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to homosexuality.”

However, outcry from users forced the company to change its plans, stating they would no longer immediately categorize gay posts as ‘lewd content.’

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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