In what will only be a tremendous blow to LGBTQ+ visibility in China, ShanghaiPRIDE — mainland China’s oldest and biggest Pride celebration — has just announced that it will be taking an indefinite hiatus due to “safety concerns.”
In an official post on Chinese social messaging app WeChat, the organizers announced that they will be “cancelling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events.”
“This decision was difficult to make, but we have to protect the safety of all involved,” says co-founder Charlene Liu. “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.”
Since its founding in 2009, ShanghaiPRIDE has been largely powered by volunteer efforts in order to promote visibility and dialogue around LGBTQ issues in China. Though its organizers sponsored year-round events within the city of Shanghai, the main ShanghaiPRIDE festival coincided with international Pride month in June, with events ranging from a yearly film festival to community events and panel talks with a mix of local and international guests.
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It remains to be seen whether or not organizers plan to resume activities at some point in the future. But for people in Shanghai and throughout the Chinese mainland that participated in its over 12 years of running, the loss is already being felt.
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