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China sentences erotic novelist to over 10 years in jail for writing gay sex scenes

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A Chinese novelist has reportedly been issued a jail term of over 10 years for writing gay sex scenes. The novelist's book, titled "Occupy," has sold 7,000 copies online. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

The Chinese government sentenced a novelist to more than 10 years in prison for illegally writing erotic scenes that included gay sex.

What are the details?

In 2017, the author — who goes by Tianyi, but is surnamed Liu — released a book titled "Occupy," which sold 7,000 copies online. After its release, the government jailed Liu. Last month, the author received a sentence of 10 1/2 years for "producing and selling pornographic materials," according to the South China Morning Post.

Liu stood accused of writing "graphic depictions of male homosexual sex scenes," and her tough sentence was imposed because she sold more than 5,000 copies and profiting roughly $21,000, which was deemed as an "especially serious circumstance."

The production and sale of pornography is illegal in China, and the government sentenced Liu under a 1998 law that pre-dates the digital age, according to Chinese attorney Deng Xueping.

"When the number of copies exceeds 5,000, the case is deemed as a severe one," he told CNN. "So the 10-year sentence is based on that.

"But things have changed a lot in society, especially that the internet helps things spread faster than ever," Deng continued. "That's why I think it's worth discussing if the sentence for the case is too heavy. The punishments of the criminal law should be in proportion to the social impact of the crimes."

Deng told the New York Times, "The punishment for rape can be three years. Selling pornography or raping a girl — which is more harmful?"

What else?

Several critics of Liu's sentencing point to the fact that many rapists in China indeed serve jail terms of only three to 10 years. In one case outlined by the Morning Post, a Chinese official was initially sentenced to five years in prison for the abduction and rape of a 4-year-old girl. His sentence was upped to eight years after public outrage.

China Director for Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson told the Times, "Ten years in jail for writing a book and selling it online? I don't know what's beyond the pale, but this must be it."

The BBC reported that Liu has filed an appeal to the court.

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