Organisers of China’s first gay Pride event being held this week, have been told to shut down several of the festivals’ events, reports the BBC.

Officials have warned the owners of two venues planning to hold a play and a film screening they would face “severe consequences” if they went ahead.

China Pride does not include a parade, but features various cultural events, talks, an art exhibition and a party that is scheduled for this weekend.

Homosexuality was illegal in China until 1997 and was defined as a mental illness until 2001.

Recent articles in prominent Shanghai newspapers on the Pride event appeared to represent a shift towards a more tolerant attitude.

However, mere hours after they were published, officials in Shanghai visited businesses and ordered them to cancel their planned events for Pride Week.

The confused festival’s organisers face an anxious wait to see if their remaining events will be allowed to go ahead.

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