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HONG KONG – An LGBTQ activist in Hong Kong on Tuesday rejected calls to boycott the 2023 Gay Games over China’s human rights record.
âIn Hong Kong, the team behind Gay Games have really worked tirelessly to bring it to Hong Kong and it will be a great opportunity to showcase the diversity and people working together and the human spirit at its best,â said Gigi Chao said in Los Angeles. Blade in a telephone interview from Hong Kong. “So if everything gets rather political and if you distort feelings of what they want China to be, it really isn’t going to work.”
Chao is the co-founder of Hong Kong Marriage Equality, a group that seeks to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the former British colony. Chao also founded the Faith in Love Foundation, a group that seeks to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues in Hong Kong.
Chao is a member of the board of directors of OutRight Action International. Chao is expected to speak at the group’s annual summit taking place virtually this week.
“All eyes are on the events of next year: the Beijing Olympics, relations between Beijing and the United States as relations improve or deteriorate over the next 12 months and also trade. and the global economic situationâ¦ it is not rosy. image by all means, âChao told Blade. âEveryone is bracing for the worst when it comes to how the world is recovering from COVID, but LGBTIQ rights continue. “
Chao said Dennis Philipse, a Hong Kong resident who co-chairs the Gay Games Hong Kong, and his colleagues “want the Gay Games to be a celebration of the human spirit in terms of sport.”
âIn Hong Kong, there is certainly no shortage of people who are engaged in sports and who love sports,â Chao said.
Gay Games Hong Kong announced in September that the quadrennial event was postponed until 2023 due to the pandemic. The Gay Games Federation, which oversees the Gay Games, awarded the games to Hong Kong over DC and Guadalajara, Mexico.
Hong Kong was a British colony until China regained control in 1997.
Over 2 million people participated in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019.
Hong Kong’s National Security Law, which human rights activists say makes it easier for authorities to punish anyone who defies the Chinese government, came into effect in 2020. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who is closely linked to the Chinese government, supports the statute.
The Women‘s Tennis Association last week announced the suspension of tournaments in Hong Kong and across China in response to the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai after publicly accusing former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. The Biden administration on Monday announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics due in Beijing in February.
âThe Gay Games Federation continues to monitor the situation in Hong Kong regarding COVID-19, the National Security Act and all other aspects that affect the safety and security of our event,â Sean Fitzgerald, co-chair of the Federation of Gay Games. The Blade said in a statement after the Women’s Tennis Association announced that it had suspended all of its tournaments in China. “We are committed to hosting the Gay Games 11 in Hong Kong in November 2023.”
Chao admitted that the organizers of the Gay Games “face a lot of opposition from all directions.” Chao also noted that the Hong Kong government “doesn’t really promote it positively.”
âIf we can get some really high performance athletes to participate, I think it will be a huge call for everyone to participate,â said Chao.