The Chinese government has slammed the brakes on next year’s Shanghai Pride, the longest-running and best-known pride event in the nation.
The announcement came via Shanghai Pride’s Facebook in which the organizers announced that pride had been canceled for the first time since the celebration began in 2009.
“Shanghai Pride regrets to announce that we are canceling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events,” organizers wrote in the post. “The 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 honored and proud to have traveled this journey of raising awareness and promoting diversity for the LGBTQ community.”
CNN now reports that anonymous sources have provided a bit more information surrounding the nixed event. Apparently, the Chinese government had begun pressuring the all-volunteer staff of Shanghai Pride to cancel, going so far as to lobby them in their daily lives.
“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,” one source told the network. “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.”
Shanghai Pride actually went off without a problem earlier this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. That the organization would choose now to cancel next year’s celebration seem all the more perplexing.
Homosexuality remains legal in China, though queer Chinese citizens still experience discrimination thanks to cultural biases. Already this year, Queerty has reported on controversy surrounding a popular Singapore drama which featured a gay man as a pedophile, and the weird censorship of a jewelry commercial that featured a same-sex couple exchanging rings. Captions for the advertisement referred to the two men–who appear to be about the same age–as father and son.