Image via Sohu.
A 19 year old LGBT activist, identified only as Xiang, was arrested on Saturday in Changsha, Hunan province, for organising an “illegal protest”, according to a since-deleted report in the Xiaoxiang Morning News.
Patrick Boehler at the SCMP reports:
Xiang has been transferred to the Changsha Municipal Detention Centre, said A Qiang, a fellow demonstrator and well-known activist from Guangzhou.
Xiang has been active in the local LGBT community since age 14. A Qiang said Xiang had approached police about the protest before it took place on Friday afternoon.
The protest called for an end to homophobia and discrimination. It was second time Changsha’s LGBT community has organised such a protest. Police had not interfered in last year’s demonstration. Some 80 to 100 people participated this year.
“They said if we don’t see you, we don’t have to handle it,” A Qiang said. “We knew we couldn’t apply for permission to demonstrate, so we decided to call it a marketing event for Hunan With Love”, a commercial community website.
“Companies do that all the time,” he said. “The police seemed to be OK with it.”
A Qiang said police did not interfere with the protest, except towards the end, when police approached the protesters, telling them not to shout slogans and impede traffic.
Despite this, early on Saturday morning Xiang and three others were taken away by police. All except Xiang were released.
As of Monday, searches for “protest” and “Changsha” were blocked on Sina Weibo.