When Hong Kong was announced in 2017 as host of the 11th Gay Games next year, the first time the event would be held in Asia, it was a nod to the city’s status as a cosmopolitan place and a relatively bright spot in the region for progressive causes. Now, attacks on the Gay Games from local lawmakers aligned with Beijing are revealing bigotry in the financial hub, where space for promoting ideas such as equality and diversity has shrunk under China’s tightening control. Amid a crackdown enabled by a national security law introduced last year, the Hong Kong activists who would typically push back against such attacks are either behind bars or in exile. Leading the crusade is Junius Ho, a pro-Beijing lawmaker who has called the Gay Games “disgraceful” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that could violate the security law. Another lawmaker, Priscilla Leung, said activists could use sports and cultural events to promote political causes. Peter Shiu, a member of a center-right party, said Hong Kong can “tolerate” but not promote homosexuality.
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