Associated Press / Ng Han Guan

An LGBT advocacy group in China has shut down amid the country’s growing restrictions on social activism, The Associated Press reported.

LGBT Rights Advocacy China announced on Thursday that it was shutting down its social media accounts on the Chinese platforms Weibo and WeChat, as well as halting all activity in the country.

“We are deeply regretful to tell everyone, Queer Advocacy Online will stop all of our work indefinitely,” the group told the AP via WeChat. 

China has not been particularly hostile to the LGBT community, and in major cities, there is often a vibrant social scene for community members. 

LGBT Rights Advocacy China has taken the lead on legal challenges for LGBT rights in the country. The group has pushed for marriage equality and helped LGBT people sue their employers on the basis on discrimination, according to the wire service. 

“In the entire community, they gave us a lot of hope and guidance, giving everyone the confidence to go out there and do something,” a 34-year-old man told the news outlet. He previously sued his former employer in 2018 for discrimination and won the case with the help of the group.

In recent months, however, the country has made efforts to censor online content, a move that has impacted how the organization does its work. In July, WeChat removed accounts aimed at reaching the LGBT community

The Ministry of Civil Affairs announced that they have dealt with 3,300 illegal social media organizations and shut down about 200 websites and social accounts that were not registered with any government entity, the AP noted. 

It is not clear whether the group’s shutdown was part of the government action. 

“The future may bring more uncertainties, we await the day when we can lift the clouds and see the daylight,” LGBT Rights Advocacy China said in their post, according to the AP.

Tags LGBT LGBT rights in China

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