Chinese erotic writer Liu, better known by her online alias Tianyi, was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison for “producing and selling pornographic materials.” Liu, known only by her alias and her last name, was sentenced last month but the news was only reported Friday, stirring outrage on social media. While pornography is illegal in China, many are calling Liu’s decade-long sentence extreme, attributing the harshness to homophobia.
In China, Gay Erotica Gets 10 Years in Prison, Rape Gets 5
It gives you pause to think. China is another authoritarian haven with a strongman in charge. Many people know pornography is illegal in China, but apparently here the last straw was that the author managed to sell more than 5,000 copies of the novel and earned more than 150,000 yuan when doing so. The novel also has descriptions of gay sex between a teacher and his student. So the author broke the law.
It's an outmoded law, not only because it was created before the advent of the internet (that can spread content in the blink of an eye), but because it forces any author to submit their work to the government to be approved. Obviously, a work of erotica -especially gay erotica- would never be published with the government's blessing in a country where depictions of same sex relationships are forbidden. Homosexuality was a crime in China until 1997 and considered a mental illness until only seventeen years ago.
But the topic is obviously popular and people would pay to read about these stories. The fact that the government forbids the publication of such works is proof that sex -as something that makes us individuals- is considered part of a movement that's considered dangerous. Erotica caters to individuality and that's something that a government like the Chinese government cannot allow.
Let's hope the author gets a more lenient sentence and that this case promotes some change. This story called my attention because last year I went to a Republican's house for a dinner party and she told me that we were 'lucky to be able to express ourselves', that we were not in countries like China.
Well, with Cheetolini in the White House and his penchant for declaring American needs a state tv (doesn't he already have Fox News?), considering anything that does not portrait him well as 'fake news' and his desire to control the narrative of news and the course of history, we are not trailing too far behind.
note: the illustrations are of Japanese homoerotica. Apparently Chinese homoerotica is difficult to come by...