Chinese Police Shut Down Event for Gays, Lesbians Aimed at Discussing Cultural Issues, Including HIV/AIDS
Police last week in Beijing shut down a three-day cultural event aimed at discussing cultural issues and HIV/AIDS among gays and lesbians in China, Japan's Kyodo News reports. The Gay and Lesbian Cultural Festival, which was to be held Dec. 16-18 at a nightclub in the city's "Factory 789" art district, was shut down on Dec. 14 after police told organizers the event would attract too many people (Jennings, Kyodo News, 12/20). New York-based Human Rights Watch and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network on Tuesday criticized the cancellation, asking Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Council Committee on HIV/AIDS to look into the lack of discussion about sexuality and sexual health in the country. "The Chinese government tells the world that it is dealing with HIV/AIDS in internationally acceptable ways but continues to persecute civil society organizations that can lead the way to effective programs," Joanne Csete, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, said. She added that this is "part of a pattern of censorship and harassment of Chinese activists working for sexual rights and health" (HRW release, 12/20). China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang during a news conference on Tuesday said, "I think, if the police enforce the law, of course they will have law enforcement evidence." Organizers are planning to stage an art exhibit and symposium once the event's location reopens, according to Zhu Rikun, a Beijing resident (Kyodo News, 12/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.