Beijing [China]: The 15-year-old ‘Beijing LGBT Center’, one of the pioneers of the “different sexual orientation movement” in China, last week announced that it has terminated its operations, Voice of America (VOA) reported.
The announcement comes without any explanation. The Beijing LGBT Center was dedicated to improving the living environment for LGBT people in China.
According to analysts, the closure of the well-known rights center was seen as inevitable and a reflection of the increasingly repressive political environment in China under Xi Jinping. The LGBT Center released a statement on its social media accounts on Monday evening, announcing that the center would cease operations “due to force majeure.”
That legal phrase typically refers to events outside a party’s control, although the message did not elaborate on the reasons, according to VOA.
VOA Mandarin left a message on the center’s account but has not received a response.
The center’s main business included providing psychological counselling, rapid HIV screening and “gender-friendly workplace training” to promote gender diversity and prevent discrimination.
The center has also sued organizations that administer electroshock therapy to homosexuals.
Jennifer Lu, Asia program director of Outright International, a group focused on improving rights for sexual minorities around the world, has long been concerned with the situation in China.
In an interview with VOA Mandarin, she said the sudden closure of the center was a shame, but that she wasn’t surprised by it. She said many sexual minority activists have told her that they are unable to organize events in China and that there are fewer and fewer outlets to speak out.