China: Police detain gay activists after Xian event canceled

Police in China's northwestern city of Xian briefly detained nine gay activists, saying the city did not welcome gay people, after they tried to organize a gay rights conference there, one of the activists told Reuters on Wednesday.

The move came as China's gay community has been celebrating Taiwan's recent decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry, a first for Asia, and amid a broader clampdown on civil society and rights activism under President Xi Jinping.

The event organized by the Chinese group Speak Out was to have started on Sunday, but police took away nine of the organizers early that morning and questioned them for several hours before letting them go, an organizer who gave his name only as Matthew told Reuters.

"They were very clear in telling us we couldn't organize activities in Xian again, and that they didn't welcome gays," Matthew added. However, he said that police had not given a specific reason why the event could not be held in Xian. According to the group's WeChat account, 400 people were expected to attend. Read more via Reuters