There’s always so much to prep for before a big vacation. You have to clear out those work emails before you go, figure out how to squeeze your things into a 20kg suitcase, find someone to feed your fish while you’re gone and if you’re the government, you need to raid a gay park.
At least 80 gay men were taken away for questioning from Mudanyuan park in Beijing’s Haidian district during night raids on Saturday and Sunday. The park, a popular hangout for gay men, was swarmed with around 20 police cars as part of some type of security sweep in preparation for the October 1st holiday. The men were made to produce ID cards and some required to take blood tests. It’s not clear whether all the men have been released yet.
A spokesman for the police bureau confirms the “city’s annual security inspection” ahead of the National Day holiday but left out what regulations the men were suspected of violating. The official party line on homosexuality are the three no’s — no support, no prohibition, and no promotion (“不支持，不反对，不提倡”) and sodomy was decriminalized in 1997 but gays are frequently discriminated against in conservative Chinese society and the government hasn’t always been so friendly to the gay community. Similar raids have occurred in Guangzhou and last year, the Mr. Gay China pageant was forced to cancel at the last minute.
So unfortunately, things aren’t looking so good right now for gay rights. But we all know how inane the government gets right before their precious holidays. Other things China likes to do before vacations include closing borders–Tibet was closed to foreign tourists for the 60th anniversary last year and rumors have it that China plans to close its border with Kyrgyzstan during this holiday period too–and even the banning of kite-flying in Beijing.