Devin Randall's picture

The Chinese Government Shut Down A Gay Rights Conference in Xi'An

China has one again decided to turn against the LGBTQ community.

Specifically, there was an organized conference that was supposed to happen this week in the town of Xi’an, in which 400 people were planning to gather and talk about LGBT rights in China. But, before anything could happen the event was derailed.

First, venues in Xi’an started to reject already pre-set reservations for the event. Different reasons were given such as fire safety concerns and other events taking precedence.

This is what actually made the organizers have the cancel the event ahead of time and refund ticekts, but sadly that wasn’t the end of their troubles.

It was a full day later that police officers showed up and detailed all nine of them.

The nine organizers who were a part of a group called Speak Out were detailed by the police and forced to hand over their cell phones and give administrative-access to the phones and their social media. Then, the police made the organizers give them a list of the names for the speakers who were to take part in the event.

Matthew, the pseudonym of one of the other organizers, said, “They were very clear in telling us we couldn’t organize activities in Xi’an again, and that they didn’t welcome gays.”

“In those eight hours, we were completely cut off from the world – we were clearly told: ‘LGBT events can never be held in Xi’an,’ ‘Xi’an does not welcome LGBT events,’ and other such warnings,” said the conference’s curator to the Hong Kong Free Press.

As for why all of this happened, none of the organizers know.

“This is in China,” the curator wrote, “If you ask me what kind of power can represent Xi’an to say that it ‘does not welcome LGBT’ activities, and what kind of people are ‘obstructing’ the event, I can only shrug my shoulders.”

“I don’t know either, because no one told me. What is the reason for it ‘being cancelled’? It’s ‘no reason.’”

The weird thing is, the organizers have held an event at Xi’an before. They’ve even held events in other cities like Chongquing and Chengdu.

These events are just another attack the Chinese government has had on the LGBT community and its allies, and it shows how China is just so confused on how to handle them.

Last year, China went on a tirade by banning the gay web series Heroin for becoming too popular, but China recently approved of playing Seeking McCartney, which will be the first film shown in China to feature gay characters as leads.

Also, China has two of the biggest gay dating apps around. Blue’d (which is the biggest gay dating app in the world and has government funding), and now Grindr which was bought out by a Chinese gaming company.

But, then the lesbian dating app Rela was shut down randomly and without any explanation last week.

Lastly, PFLAG members tried to participate in the “marriage market” in Shanghai, but were “escorted out” by the police.

China can’t decide how it wants to treat the LGBT community and its allies, and this attack on the Speak Out organizers is just another example of the country confusing itself and others.