British pop star Dua Lipa broke down in tears at a recent performance in Shanghai after Chinese police forcibly removed LGBTQ fans from the venue for carrying pride flags.
In a series of viral videos from the concert uploaded by fans to Twitter, police can be seen roughly grabbing and dragging fans—including a group of concertgoers whose only reported “offense” was showing their pride by waving a rainbow flag.
I just CANT believe it. This is the show of Dua Lipa in Shanghai. All the fans are forbidden to stand out and could only sit on to see the show?!? If you don’t, the guard would use violence to kick u out. It’s unbelievable… #dualipa pic.twitter.com/quITZNLVxU
— Ｎｅｏ (@imneo_) September 12, 2018
— SubwaySucker (@dr_jolin) September 12, 2018
In another video clip from the concert, a tearful Dua Lipa told the audience that she wants to create a safe space for her fans to have fun: “I want us all to dance, I want us all to sing, I want us to just have a really good time. We’re not here for much longer, just a few more songs, but I would like us for these last few songs to just really, really enjoy ourselves, how about that?”
Dua Lipa Cried In Shanghai China Tonight pic.twitter.com/Tz17SRGpiH
— Liability (@958353005) September 12, 2018
The current state of LGBTQ equality in China is fraught: While homosexuality and legal gender changes are both permitted by law, the country offers no anti-discrimination protections for queer citizens. Even more frightening than that, though, is the Chinese government’s history of crackdowns on LGBTQ media, activism, and public gatherings.
In May 2017, police in Xi’an detained nine LGBTQ activists who wanted to hold a queer rights conference in the city. Last July, the nation’s Netcasting Services Association, which controls its media, announced new regulations to censor LGBTQ content from the Internet. As recently as this March, the organizers of Beijing’s annual film festival pulled gay flick Call Me By Your Name from its 2018 lineup, citing “no clear policy” on screening LGBTQ films.
Early this morning, the “IDGAF” singer took to Twitter to address the situation with a formal statement.
Shanghai ❤️ pic.twitter.com/mxLHxj2Y3y
— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) September 13, 2018
“I will stand by you for all your love and beliefs,” Dua Lipa wrote, “and I am proud and grateful that you felt safe enough to show your pride at my show. What you did takes bravery. I always want my music to bring strength, hope, and unity.”
“I was horrified by what happened and send love to all my fans involved,” she added.