A group of gay men in Guangzhou, China, took an unprecedented step recently when they confronted police who attempted to sweep them from a public park.
According to the Associated Press, about 50 men resisted five police officers who tried to force them to leave People's Park on August 25. The park is a popular hangout for men, although the incidence of sex in the public restroom causes friction with the police and wider community.
The spontaneous, nonviolent uprising could indicate a new chapter for gay rights in China, where sodomy was decriminalized in 1997 and homosexuality was removed from the official list of mental disorders in 2001.
"Though mostly ignored by state-run media," reported the AP, "news of the incident in the southern city of Guangzhou -- also known as Canton -- spread quickly on the Internet and became a hot topic in gay chat forums nationwide. Some in China's gay community see it as a sign of a new sense of empowerment and a burgeoning awareness of their rights."