The Chinese government has shut down a website that published homoerotic fantasy stories and imprisoned and fined its founder. A surprising aspect of the case was that most of the writers of the explicit gay fiction were women around 20 years old.
The site, that was routed through a server in the US, was created in 2008 and police became aware of it in 2011. It published 1,200 homoerotic stories written by a 30-member team in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other Chinese cities. The youngest writer was a 17-year-old girl.
Founder of the site, 27-year-old man Wang Ming, was sentenced to six months to a year in prison and fined for the dissemination of pornographic material for profit, reported Net Ease, via China Smack.
It was revealed during the case that the girls were paid little to write the stories, but one said that she felt a sense of accomplishment that her stories were read on the internet. According to police investigators, the girls were seen as 'good girls' by parents and neighbours and appeared naive and emotionally inexperienced.
Exported from Japan, a cult craze of girls who read homoerotic manga comics has been around since the late-90s, called Danmei in China and Yaoi in Japan (also known as Boys’ Love). They feature androgynous looking men and romantic storylines. Mark McLelland has argued that the phenomenon can be see as parallel to heterosexual male pornography feature lesbian sex.