China’s oldest Pride organisation announces indefinite hiatus and cancels all events

It added: “Pride has a lot of different meanings for different people – for us, it has always been about showing our community that not only is there nothing wrong with who we are, but that our identities and the people that we love are worth celebrating.

“ShanghaiPRIDE regrets to announce that we are cancelling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events. We love our community, and we are grateful for the experiences we’ve shared together. No matter what, we will always be proud – and you should be, too.”

Cecilie Johnsen

It is unclear what caused the cancellation, and ShanghaiPRIDE co-founder, Charlene Liu is quoted on Radii as saying: “This decision was difficult to make, but we have to protect the safety of all involved.

“It’s been a great 12-year ride, and we are honoured and proud to have traveled this journey of raising awareness and promoting diversity for the LGBTQ community.”

Although homosexuality is legal in China, the country has taken great steps to try and censor mentions of it within the media. The country has banned gay characters from appearing in television shows, and was banned from airing Eurovision after it cut Ireland’s performance from 2018’s Eurovision semi-finals because of two same-sex dancers.

Some social media users in China speculated that this crackdown on LGBTQ+ visibility could be the reason behind the cancellations, with one Weibo user posting: “Obviously, it’s not due to the outbreak because it didn’t stop the festival from happening in the first place. In China, when something gets attacked abruptly, we know what’s up.”

CNN reported similar feelings, with an anonymous head of an LGBTQ+ group in the country saying: “The public gets to see the visible and impactful aspects of what we do, but they can’t imagine the difficulties we face behind the scenes — I think Shanghai Pride is no exception.

“With things becoming harder and riskier, laying low may let you survive for now. But the purpose of our job is to raise visibility and educate the public — that’s the dilemma.”

Related: Over 200,000 sign petition urging China to legalise same-sex marriage

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