A Chinese author of a gay erotic novel has been sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison. The writer who goes by the pseudonym Tianyi, was arrested last year following the publication of the novel Gongzhan, translated as Occupy. Police described the work as depicting “obscene sexual behavior between males” and containing themes of “violence, abuse and humiliation.”
China has a unique booming self-publishing writing industry, where authors publish serial novels, and short stories online. With this, homoerotic fiction has scene a rise in popularity. Most titles only hint at homosexual relations, but others are more explicit and risk being targeted by the country’s censors.
Tianyi was said to have made more than 150,000 yuan through the sale of Gongzhan and other works deemed obscene. The production and sale of pornography is prohibited in China. Under China law, Gongzhan is deemed pornography. When the number of copies exceeds 5,000, or makes more than 10,000 yuan from the work, it is deemed as a severe case. The 10-year sentence is based on that. Anger at the discrepancy between her sentence and those given to violent criminals has been expressed by many, pointing out that under Chinese criminal law, rapists receive between three to 10 years.