Arrests in China

A gay protest in China: Undated | Xiang Xiaohan

News is filtering out that a number of gay activists who had assembled for a conference on setting up gay groups in China have been held and questioned by authorities. Shortly before the seminar was due to begin on Wednesday morning, nine of the participants were taken to police stations for questioning and told to send out a message to say the event had been cancelled. All nine of the activists detained have been released.

Gay people in China still face deep cultural barriers to acceptance, pressure from their families to marry and a complete lack of any legislation under which they can challenge discrimination. Shanghai Pride does not have a parade because any such gathering needs state approval, and the gay film festival only happens because friendly foreign consulates provide the venues.

The BBC thinks the Chinese authorities are nervous because on 4 June it will be the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen outrage.