BEIJING (AFP) – A female Chinese novelist has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for writing and distributing books containing explicit descriptions of gay male sex, state-run media said on Monday (Nov 19).

The author, who goes by the pen name Tianyi, attracted the scrutiny of authorities after one of her novels, Gongzhan, went viral last year, according to the Global Times tabloid.

The book detailed the sexual relationship between a teacher and his male student.

Tianyi also distributed 7,000 “pornographic” books, most related to homosexuality, according to Wuhu city police cited by The Global Times.

She has filed an appeal, according to local media.

Tianyi’s sentencing in eastern Anhui province has drawn criticism on Weibo, where many people noted that her acts were treated like other crimes such as rape.

“We don’t deny her crime – it’s just that we don’t accept this kind of unreasonable judgment,” wrote one Weibo user.

Last week, government regulators increased the amount of cash rewards Chinese citizens can earn for reporting “illegal” publications to authorities.

China classified homosexuality as a crime until 1997 and a mental illness until 2001, but conservative attitudes and discrimination remain widespread.

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