Abruptly canceled, ShanghaiPRIDE could be harbinger for China’s civil society

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08/27/2020

Annual Pride celebrations are not common in cities across China, but the city of Shanghai is an exception, where Pride events have occurred for a dozen years. But now organizers say this year’s ShanghaiPRIDE festival is on hold to protect the “safety” of all involved. The rest of this year’s scheduled events in Shanghai are canceled and future events are on indefinite hiatus. Yang Yiliang, a 29-year-old artist in Hunan Province, central China, who is gay, says that being part of ShanghaiPRIDE over the years has been life-changing. “It’s so important to me. … because it’s like an acknowledgment of who I am and my identity by society. It’s also about connecting with a community.” “It’s so important to me,” he said, “because it’s like an acknowledgment of who I am and my identity by society. It’s also about connecting with a community.” In Hunan, Yang says he can’t get galleries to show his work, because curators say the themes are too “sensitive.” Yang says ShanghaiPRIDE has offered him a platform and a greater audience. This year, Yang’s pieces, a mix of traditional folk art papercuts with LGBTQ themes, hang on display at an art gallery on a downtown Shanghai street.

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