Security guards attack Chinese women for 'wearing rainbow badges' at LGBT event in Beijing

Outrage after footage shows security staff punching women at arts district

Chris Baynes
Tuesday 15 May 2018 17:50
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Security guards beat woman at LGBT+ event in China

Security guards assaulted two Chinese women for wearing LGBT rainbow badges in Beijing, activists said.

The guards were filmed punching and knocking down the women after preventing them from entering the city’s 798 art zone, a complex of former military factories now known for its galleries and cafes.

Footage of the altercation, reported to have left both victims needing hospital treatment, provoked outrage among China’s LGBT+ community after it was circulated on social media.

Activists had been handing out the badges near an entrance to the district to promote the upcoming International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, held annually on 17 May.

But they were told to stop by security staff, who refused to admit anyone wearing the badges.

"I planned to give out 5,000 rainbow badges in 798 but was stopped by the security staff,” an activist told the state-run Global Times.

The man, who did not want to be named, added: “Trying to stop me from handing out badges and stopping others who wore them from entering the zone is absurd.”

The video appears to show a guard repeatedly punching one of the women, who falls to the ground, as security staff crowd around her. Another of the women apparently attempts to strike one of the guards before she too is knocked down.

The footage of Sunday’s assault was posted to Chinese social media platform Weibo but later removed, prompting suspicions of censorship.

Both women required hospital treatment, according to the activist who gave them badges. One received facial stitches and another suffered bruising, he added.

An employee of the 798 district’s property management department told the newspaper guards had “a right to stop illegal activity”.

"Wearing a rainbow badge is illegal to me, and they, the homosexuals, have distorted sexual orientation,” he said. “It is terrifying... God created humans as they are."

The man, who was not identified, blamed the women for the assault, saying one of them "gave a middle finger to one of the security guards”.

Chinese feminist activist Lu Pin later tweeted that 798’s security company had fired three guards over the incident.

“Those two girls accepted the result because they have no more energy to expend,” she added.

Ms Lu said the footage of the attack had "evoked the angry determination" of China's LGBT+ community, but warned gay people faced a "dangerous and challenging situation".

Homosexuality was legalised in China in 1997 but conservative values persist and LGBT+ people face stigmatisation and censorship.

Last month Weibo announced a ban on gay content, before overturning the restriction following an outcry.

A Chinese broadcaster was barred from airing Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest after the channel censored LGBT+ scenes, including rainbow flags and a dance portraying a gay relationship in the semi-final.

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