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Beijing LGBT Center Latest Victim of China's Anti-LGBTQ+ Crackdown

Beijing LGBT Center Latest Victim of China's Anti-LGBTQ+ Crackdown

Beijing LGBT Center Latest Victim of China's Anti-LGBTQ+ Crackdown

The group made the abrupt announcement on social media, then ceased all operations.

An LGBTQ+ advocacy and support center in China has closed as a result of a crackdown by a government increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ+ community within its borders.

The Beijing LGBT Center made the announcement and then ceased operations, according to the Associated Press. The center, which served as both a safe space and a source of information and support to the local community, is the latest group to be eliminated in the country due to oppressive anti-LGBTQ+ laws from President Xi Jinping’s government.

“We very regretfully announce, due to forces beyond our control, the Beijing LGBT Center will stop operating today,” read a notice posted on the center’s official WeChat account Monday night.

Neither the Beijing LGBT Center nor the government’s Ministry of Civil Affairs immediately responded to requests for information from the AP.

“They are not the first group, nor are they the largest, but because Beijing LGBT Center was in Beijing, it represented China’s LGBT movement,” a Chinese activist who requested anonymity told AP. “In our political, economic, and cultural center, to have this type of organization, it was a symbol of the LGBT movement’s presence.”

The government crackdown began in 2015, according to local advocates and experts, but has increased in recent years. The government regularly invited LGBTQ+ groups to “drink tea,” where police could monitor their activities. The AP reported these meetings at first took place in public places before later moving to the homes of individual members. Eventually, LGBTQ+ groups and individuals were summoned to police headquarters for questioning.

In 2021, China shut down the group LGBT Rights Advocacy China. In a move similar to that of the Beijing LGBT Center, the group made the announcement and then closed its accounts on social media platforms, the APreported at the time.

“We are grateful for all your companionship and support over the years,” the group posted on WeChat. “Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

In September 2021, the government announced it was banning portrayals of “sissy men” and “other abnormal esthetics” from television programs and “gay love” from video games. Four months later in January 2022, the government censored reruns of the sitcom Friends, removing scenes featuring Ross's ex-wife, Carol, who is a lesbian.

Also last year, the gay dating app Grindr was removed from Apple’s app store in China. Officials from Grindr said they voluntarily removed it in anticipation of additional anti-LGBTQ+ regulations. Google Play, the app store for Android platforms, was not available in China

“Like many other US companies, we’ve chosen to remove our app from the app store in China due to the potential increased burden from China’s recently implemented Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL),” Grindr spokesman Patrick Lenihan told The Advocate at the time. “We may revisit this in the future.”

China decriminalized homosexuality 26 years ago, but the country remains an unfriendly place for LGBTQ+ people. The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), which went into effect November 1, 2021, subjects apps to regulation and surveillance and requires the government to approve data transferred between China and other regions.

RELATED: Chinese LGBTQ+ Activist Group Shuts Down Amid Growing Repression

RELATED: New Law in China Leads Grindr to Leave App Store There

RELATED: Chinese Bans Effeminate, 'Sissy' Men from Television Broadcasts

RELATED: Friends' Lesbian Storyline Censored in China

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