Police close down China's first gay pageant, organizers unsurprised - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Police close down China's first gay pageant, organizers unsurprised

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BEIJING (AP) -- Organizers of what would have been China's first gay pageant say they "kind of saw" it coming.

Police showed up at the Beijing club where the Mr. Gay China pageant was to take place about an hour beforehand. Ben Zhang says they told him there was nothing wrong with the show's content -- it was to have featured a fashion show and a host in drag -- but proper procedures had not been followed to get official approval for the stage show.

Chinese police often cite procedural reasons for closing down politically sensitive gatherings. While the Mr. Gay China event did not have an overt political agenda, authorities have blocked similar events in the past.

One contestant says "it totally has to do with moral standards and culture" and if most people can't accept it, the government won't let it happen.

Zhang says he had hoped the pageant would raise awareness of gays in a country where they are frequently discriminated against and ostracized.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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