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Shanghai Pride shuts down in blow to China's LGBTQ community

August 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Shanghai Pride, China's longest-running and only major annual celebration of sexual minorities, abruptly announced its effective shutdown on Thursday, in the latest sign of the authorities' increasing clampdown on civil society and LGBTQ rights in the country.

Beijing (CNN)Shanghai Pride, China's longest-running and only major annual celebration of sexual minorities, abruptly announced its effective shutdown on Thursday, in the latest sign of the authorities' increasing clampdown on civil society and LGBTQ rights in the country.

In an open letter posted online, titled "the End of the Rainbow," the organizers recalled Shanghai Pride's humble origins as a one-off small community event in 2009, and its steady growth into a monthlong celebration -- featuring not just dance parties but also athletic contests, art exhibitions, film screenings, job fairs and themed talks -- attended by thousands of LGBTQ people and their allies over the years, with other special events scheduled year-round.

"The public gets to see the visible and impactful aspects of what we do, but they can't imagine the difficulties we face behind the scenes -- I think Shanghai Pride is no exception," said the head of one national LGBTQ rights advocacy group, who requested anonymity for fear of government reprisal.

Among the artists showing work at the Pride exhibition last year was Yang Yiliang, who incorporates Chinese folk art and other traditional influences into his LGBTQ-themed paintings.

"I feel a tremendous sense of loss," he told CNN on Friday, when asked about the end of Shanghai Pride, which again featured his work in this year's art exhibition.

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