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Women beaten by security at 798 Art Zone for wearing rainbow badge

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Security staff at Beijing's 798 Art Zone who roughed up two women for wearing rainbow badges on their clothing have been harshly criticized by  LGBT groups and other netizens on Chinese social media on Sunday.

Video footage of the incident uploaded online on Sunday showed a woman being beaten and pushed to the ground by a man wearing a security uniform. Another woman was pushed by several men wearing the same uniform.

Security staff at the north gate of the art zone refused to let the two women enter because they were wearing the rainbow badge, which were given to them by a man near the north gate who only agreed to be identified by his online name piaoquanjun.

Piaoquanjun told the Global Times on Sunday he was handing out rainbow badges around the north gate of 798 on Sunday for the upcoming International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which falls on May 17.

"I planned to give out 5,000 rainbow badges in 798 but was stopped by the security staff. Trying to stop me from handing out badges and stopping others who wore them from entering the zone is absurd," piaoquanjun said.

Piaoquanjun said he visited the two women in hospital in Beijing on Sunday evening and that one of them has sutures in her mouth and the other had bruises on her face.

A man working for the property management department of Beijing Administrative Committee of 798 Art Zone told the Global Times on Sunday that the zone "has a right to stop illegal activity."

"Wearing a rainbow badge is illegal to me, and they, the homosexuals, have distorted sexual orientation, it is terrifying," he said, adding that "God created humans as they are."

The man also blamed the women for starting the incident, saying one of them "gave a middle finger to one of the security guards."

Another person reached by the Global Times who also asked not to be identified, said the security staff also asked him to remove his rainbow badge.

"The security staff don't understand us. I gave out rainbow badges to let more people see us, know us and try to understand us. We are not abnormal," piaoquanjun said, adding that the incident showed that the society is not open enough to the LGBT community.

The video was posted on Beijing LGBT Center's Sina Weibo account on Sunday and then deleted without giving a reason.



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