Unfortunately, one author’s attempt at realistically depicting gay romance and sex has resulted in a ticket to jail.
Chinese media sources are buzzing with the news that a female novelist under the pen name Tianyi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tianyi gained the attention of Chinese authorities after her homoerotic novel Gongzhan, which depicts the sexual relationship between a teacher and his student, went viral last year, according to IOL and AFP.
In the eyes of the Chinese government, Tianyi has surmounted 150,000 yuan (approximately 21,600 USD) through “illegal profits” after selling 7,000 pornographic books.
According to DailyMail, Tianyi and three others were the apprehended by the authorities sometime between last November and May. She was only just recently sentenced in the eastern Anhui province on October 31.
At the current moment, Tianyi is attempting to repeal the court decision. While that's happening, many on Weibo (China’s Twitter-like website) have pointed out how unnecessarily harsh Tianyi’s punishment is.
While Chinese law says homoerotic novels that make 50,000 yuan ($7,200) or more are subject to punishment, the sentencing of 10 years in prison is an even harsher punishment than some rapists get.
Unfortunately though, China has increased its crackdown on homosexual content. This is despite the fact that homosexuality is perfectly legal in the country.
Multiple sources of gay-themed entertainment has been censored, banned, or watered down such as the popular gay webs series Addicted, the video game franchise The Sims, and China’s first openly distributed film Looking for Rohmer, and more.
In addition, Chinese citizens have fought against suppression on sites like Weibo, which are trying to stick to the government’s strict censorship laws.
And just last week, the government increased the amount of a cash award for Chinese citizens who report “illegal” publications that distribute “obscene” material. Now, the reward can go upward to 600,000 yuan ($86,412).
Plus, the Cyberspace Administration of China recently celebrated the “cleaning up” of 9,800 accounts on Chinese social media that were spreading “politically harmful” information and rumors.
But gain, homosexuality is legal in China and the government continues to repeat its “live and let live” policy in terms of LGBTQ people. That is, as long as they don’t congregate too openly both online and off it.
Will China’s LGBTQ citizens ever see freedom?
h/t: IOL, AFP, DailyMail