Two LGBT activists were reportedly attacked by security guards in Beijing, China, for wearing Pride badges as part of a pro-LGBT gathering in the city.
On Sunday, as part of a small LGBT gathering in the 798 art district of Beijing, security services responsible for the area violently blocked two women wearing Pride badges from attending.
Video of the incident shows one woman being thrown to the ground by a person wearing a security uniform while another was pushed and hit by several other people in the same uniform.
Security services then banned other people wearing the badges from entering the area, as well as preventing organisers from giving out the badges.
The organiser of the event told state-media outlet Global Times that two women were hospitalised in the aftermath of the attack.
The activist, known by the username Piaoquanjun, also said that the response of security staff was “absurd.”
“I planned to give out 5,000 rainbow badges in 798 but was stopped by the security staff. Trying to stop me from handing out badges and stopping others who wore them from entering the zone is absurd,” Piaoquanjun said.
The attack has been fiercely condemned by LGBT activists in China.
Feminist activist Lu Pin told the Guardian that the event was highly important and that LGBT rights activists in China face increasing challenges and government crackdowns.
Lu Pin said: “That event and the badges were sensitive as symbols of the fight against suppression.
“The public space for diverse expressions is collapsing. People are realising that they must stand up for their rights, but the situation is so difficult now.”
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Tweeting at the time, Lu Pin wrote: “Some people gathered before the north entrance of 798, an art district in Beijing, to get the rainbow badges distributed…
“The [security] beated two girls on the road with claim ‘it is forbidden to enter this zone with rainbow badge.'”
Although homosexuality is legal in China, the country is highly conservative and LGBT expression often faces harsh censorship.
In April, Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, backed down from a plan to ban ‘gay’ content after a protest by millions of users.
The microblogging platform initially announced new censorship rules to tackle content “with pornographic implications, promoting bloody violence, or related to homosexuality.”
It claimed the new rules were needed in order to “comply with the requirements of laws and regulations [and] fulfil the responsibilities of the company,” as well as to build a “happy community” on the platform.
The decision sparked unrest on the site, with users protesting by posting messages with the hashtag #IAmGay – which was trending within just a few hours, prompting the social media giant to back down days later.
On Saturday, China was banned from broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest after television channel Mango TV reportedly censored two same-sex dancers and rainbow flags.
Content warning: This video contains scenes of violence that may be distressing to some viewers