By Cathy Wong Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-7 23:38:01
Nine gay rights advocates were detained Wednesday early morning in Beijing, right before their participation in a conference on homosexual rights originally scheduled on Wednesday morning. Three of them were still under detention as of late Wednesday.
The nine people, including organizers and participants of the conference, are gay rights advocates or are from related NGOs.
The nine were taken to four police stations between 12 am and 12 pm Wednesday. Six of them were released by 3 pm the same day.
The police came without any warrant, and invited them for some questioning, one of the detained activists who refused to be named told the Global Times. Some of them were required to sign on the warrant issued after they were detained.
"They asked about the reasons why we want to attend the conference, and who would be invited to the conference," A Qiang from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays China, told the Global Times after being released.
The police demanded two of the activists to send out a message to call off the meeting, which was expected to host about 20 to 30 participants, through text messages, said the activists after release.
"I believe their main objective was to prevent us from attending the conference, as the issue we are dealing with is quite sensitive," an activist who is now out of the police station told the Global Times.
The conference was going to look into the legal procedures for establishing gay rights groups in China, Yu Fangqiang, the executive director of the Nanjing-based NGO Justice for All, told the Global Times after his release. The meeting was organized following a Changsha-based gay rights group's application to register was turned down by the local government at the end of last year.
"The police have overreacted," said A Qiang, "We just want to explain the difficulties of gay rights groups and to promote equality among people of different sexual orientation."
The Shuangyushu, Xiangheyuan and Huayuan Road police stations all denied the detention, and refused to comment on the issue.