Gay Rights Activists in Beijing Protest for Their Russian Comrades Favorite 


Feb 14 2014


Beijing China

A small group of gay rights activists gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Beijing on Valentine’s Day to protest Russia’s antigay laws.

Behind a rainbow banner that read “To Russia with Love,” a dozen activists cheered as three couples puckered up and kissed in front of a countdown clock for the Sochi Winter Olympics outside the embassy’s tall walls.

“Love is better than hate,” said Xu Bin, director of Common Language, a gay rights advocacy group. Ms. Xu said the protest was a meaningful way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and China’s traditional Lantern Festival, which also fell on Feb. 14 this year.

Last year, Russia passed controversial legislation that bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors and imposes fines on the public display of homosexuality and gay pride rallies.

“Putin has a very bad attitude towards gays, who have to live with the threat of violence,” said Xiao Tie, executive director of the Beijing Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, referring to the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. “Russia still needs some education on diversity. That is the reason for today’s advocacy mission.”

While antigay violence is far less common in China than in Russia and there is less opposition from traditional religion, gays in China still feel that their government is unwilling to protect their rights, said Fan Popo, a veteran activist in Beijing and a board member of the center.

“The Chinese government largely pretends that gays don’t exist and routinely avoids gay issues, leaving no room for any discussion or expression,” said Mr. Fan. “It is a topic that is banned from being brought to the table.”

written by Mia Li

February 14, 2014 5:51 am

Posted by Xinlan Yu on

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