Outcry as Chinese erotic writer jailed for more than 10 years over gay sex scenes in novel

The writer, surnamed Liu but better known by her internet alias Tianyi, was handed a 10-and-a-half year jail term for “producing and selling pornographic materials” last month, according to a television report on Friday.

The book that landed her into trouble was a 2017 novel named Occupy, which sold 7,000 copies through the internet.

The novel, about a forbidden love affair between a teacher and a student, was said to be filled with “graphic depictions of male homosexual sex scenes” tinged with violence, according to a television station in Anhui.

Pornography is illegal in China, but the hefty sentence given to Liu has ignited an uproar on social media.

According to the country’s criminal law, sentences for producing and disseminating obscene material for profit can vary wildly from a few years to life depending on the perceived severity of the offence.

The heavy sentence imposed in this case ignited an uproar. Outraged social media users were quick to point out that many serious crimes, including rape, violence and manslaughter, carried a lower sentence.

Under mainland China’s criminal law, many rapists are only liable to serve a jail term of between three to 10 years.

One case cited by critics was that of an official in Yunnan province who was sentenced to five years in prison for abducting and raping a four-year-old girl. Following a public outcry the sentence was increased to eight years.

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