On Sunday, May 13, the International Day Against Homophobia, an activist under the alias Piaoquanjun distributed rainbow badges outside Beijing’s 798 art district in celebration. It seemed harmless enough—but according to the Guardian, security guards employed by the district told the activist to stop, barring those wearing the badges from entering the area. Piaoquanjun did not stop dispensing them. In a video that has gone viral on Chinese social media with the hashtag “798 beating,” a group of guards and police officers can be seen assaulting two women wearing rainbow badges, punching and beating them to the ground.
Chinese state media Global Times confirms that the two women have been hospitalized, but the video and hashtag have since been blocked in the country.
Homosexuality isn’t illegal in China, but its government has a long (and recent) history of censoring queer content. Just last month, China’s most popular social media platform, Sina Weibo, announced a three-month hiatus on all content that mentioned homosexuality. It, thankfully, was quickly reversed after users bombarded the platform with rainbow flag emojis and the hashtags #iamgay and #iamgaynotapervert. Also over the weekend, Chinese broadcaster Mango TV lost their rights to air the massively popular singing competition Eurovision after it edited out LGBTQ elements from an online stream of the semi-finals Tuesday, May 8.