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Police in
China raid gay festival

Police in
China raid gay festival

A festival of gay and lesbian culture that was set to run all weekend in Beijing was shut down by Chinese authorities on Friday, Reuters news agency reported. The festival was supposed to highlight films, plays, exhibitions, and seminars on homosexuality, but police raided the opening reception. "They didn't have permission to hold this event," a police official surnamed He told the wire service. Atendees said that was not the real issue. "The attitude in China is still very conservative. They say it's illegal, but what's illegal about wanting to understand more about these issues?" a film student surnamed Cui told Reuters. "They are just conformists, not pluralists. They don't tolerate dissent," said another student, 24-year-old Xiao Ming. Until 2001, China considered homosexuality a mental disorder and still pressures gay men and lesbians to stay in the closet. "The police think it's a bad influence. But it's obviously discrimination," said Zhao Yongliang, one of the participants who retreated to a nearby restaurant after the raid. Police also briefly detained a journalist covering the event, demanding, "Are you gay?" (Advocate.com)

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