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Topic: China’s Mysterious Entertainment Crackdown Hits Gay Pride Events

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China’s Mysterious Entertainment Crackdown Hits Gay Pride Events

A wave of last-minute cancellations of concerts, conferences and other gatherings across China is now hitting LGBTQ-related events, including several related to this month’s Pride celebrations. To get more china entertainment news, you can visit shine news official website.

In Shanghai, organizers axed a queer-themed improv event planned on the June 4 anniversary of the military’s deadly crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, after authorities visited the host venue. The same week in Chengdu, a piece of interactive theater was canceled three hours before showtime. A Pride-month gathering in Shenyang has been postponed from June 10 to 17 and relocated.

Reports of sudden cancellations and no-notice shutdowns emerged last month, spanning events in the arts, business and culture arenas. There’s been no official explanation, but both the Chengdu and Shenyang events cited “force majeure” in their announcements, a term often associated with government intervention.

The crackdown follows a scandal involving comedian Li Haoshi, who joked about a Xi Jinping military slogan during a show in Beijing. Chinese authorities fined Xiaguo, which manages Li and produced the show, about $2 million and barred the company from producing performances in Beijing and Shanghai “indefinitely.”

But most of the impacted events, including the “What the Folkstival” outdoor concert in Beijing and the The Ladies Who Tech convention in Shanghai, didn’t seem overtly political.

In China, local bureaus of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have to approve some music and other live entertainment events. Officials can revoke approval or shut down events deemed in violation of their rules.

After roughly three years of Covid lockdown, China’s arts and cultural calendar is filling up. The border also reopened to foreign performers: the Vienna Symphony and Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra have scheduled concerts in China this year and theater classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Les Miserables and the Sound of Music are also set to make a return.

The sudden shutdowns, though, add a measure of uncertainty to the summer and fall entertainment calendar. Lately, it’s been events with LGBTQ themes getting canceled, though it’s often unclear who is pulling the plug or why. In general, pride-month activities and celebrations have gotten more low-key in recent years. Under Xi, who has pushed for more conservative social mores, state pressure on the China’s LGBTQ community has increased.

A prominent LGBTQ center in Beijing closed last month after 15 years. Organizers of Shanghai Pride said that while they’re planning some events including a Pride run as well as film screenings, they’re not intending to publicize widely such events.

Foreign embassies and consulates have come to be some of the most visible supporters, with Western missions in Beijing either flying the pride flag or illuminating their buildings in rainbow colors. Nicholas Burns, the US ambassador to China, will host a reception in celebration of Pride at his Beijing residence Tuesday.

One of the organizers of the gay improv performance in Shanghai said it wasn’t clear why their small event could pose a problem — the group’s most recent performance drew an audience of just six people. It could have been part of the broader entertainment crackdown, part of an anti-LGBTQ push, or because it was scheduled on the June 4 Tiananmen anniversary, a highly sensitive date.

Trying to organize any kind of meaningful event in China was exhausting, the person said, and one of the motivating factors behind their decision to move abroad this summer.

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