Straits Times

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When two women wearing rainbow badges were beaten up by security guards in an arty part of Beijing last month (May), social media users quickly jumped in to fight their corner. China’s LGBT community may not get much support from authorities, but in a sign of growing tolerance in Chinese society, people are using the power of hashtag campaigns to denounce attacks on gays and lesbians. The two women were walking in Beijing’s trendy “798&rdquo district days before the May 17 International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia when they were suddenly surrounded and beaten by a group of black-clad security guards. The public shaming and subsequent apology came weeks after China’s popular Weibo microblogging platform faced intense criticism for censoring gay content, with the hashtag #IamGay viewed 240 million times.

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