What counts as "illegal" content in China is broadly defined, but includes work that "endangers national unity", "leaks state secrets", and "disturbs social order" - umbrella terms that are also sometimes used when authorities punish or silence Chinese dissidents and rights campaigners.
The author, surnamed Liu and goes by the pen name "Tianyi", attracted the scrutiny of authorities after one of her homoerotic novels "Gongzhan" - translating to "Occupy" - went viral past year, according to the Global Times tabloid.
The author, surnamed Liu, was found guilty by a court in Wuhu, eastern China, after self-publishing a book past year that "obscenely and in detail described gay male-on-male acts", the state-run Wuhu Broadcasting Channel news reported.
The writer, who creates under the name Leah, was accused of producing and selling "obscene material", writes Public.
"Why can't our vast and abundant China tolerate the word 'sex?'" the person added, Reuters reports.
The genre of male-male fiction, known as "BoysLove" or "bl", has been booming in recent years. Recently, Chinese internet giant Tencent also looked to capitalize on the trend with the announcement it had acquired two popular titles for adaption online.
The Chinese Communist Party has cracked down on what it considers inappropriate content under Xi Jinping's rule. Reuters Jason Lee
The production and sale of pornography remains strictly prohibited in China.
Last year, China announced stricter regulation of online media to prohibit LGBTQ content.
Popular social media platform Sina Weibo censored LGBT content alongside pornography earlier this year, likely to honor a government initiative, but reversed the decision after China's gay community who said the company had smeared homosexuality.
Speaking to CNN, Deng Xueping, a lawyer at China's Capital Equity Legal Group, said that the sentence was based on an outdated judicial interpretation of the country's laws dating from 1998.
"When the number of copies exceeds 5,000, the case is deemed as a severe one". "Seeing this news today, and based on this kind of criminal law, I expect we will have to wait thousands of years for homosexuality to be legalized". "That's why I think it's worth discussing if the sentence for the case is too heavy".
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