Reports have emerged of Chinese gay men standing up to officers during a police operation in a park in the city of Guangzhou.

According to internet reports, five police officers attempted to disperse a group of around 100 gay men gathered at the park in the South of China at the end of August.

However, for the first time, the men refused to scatter and non-violently confronted the officers who were forced to retreat.

“I told them they might not like us, but they can’t stop us from coming here,” AIDS activist Xiao Mu, told the AP.

The incident has been ignored by official state media, but the news has spread on the internet and in online chat rooms.

Some activists see the defiance as a sign of growing confidence among China’s LGBT community.

In June this year, China’s first Pride celebration was held over a week in Shanghai, despite the authorities placing numerous restrictions on the event. A parade was also not allowed to take place.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1997 in China and was removed from the official Chinese list of mental disorders in 2001. It is thought that there could be at least 30 million gay and lesbians in China.

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