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August 4, 2011

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Gay bar can reopen if licensed

THE popular gay nightclub near downtown Hengshan Road that has been temporarily shut down by Xuhui District government may be reopened again after it obtains a business license, government officials said yesterday.

"The club was temporarily closed because it illegally started trial operation without a business license, and the crackdown had nothing to do with discrimination against the gay community," said an official surnamed Wang with the Xuhui Cultural Law Enforcement Team. "When it has all the necessary and legal licenses and permissions, it may be reopened again."

Club Angel, a nightclub popular with the local gay community, was shut down since last Thursday by the government after claims that "pornographic activities" took place there, said the club owner, Ricky Lu.

The incident escalated after Lu claimed that an official with the Tianping community office under the district government told the club that it would never be given a license because "gay projects are not welcomed or allowed on the street."

Lu issued an announcement online, saying the claims were discrimination and an attack on the gay community.

But an office deputy director surnamed Kong denied Lu's charge yesterday and said there were no such regulations issued by the government to ban gay entertainment venues on Hengshan Road or anywhere else.

"Any bars or nightclubs may be opened for operation as soon as they get all the legal licenses and permissions from the government administrations," she said. Both Kong and Wang said they had carried out several spot checks to the club and found no evidence that the club was having sex shows with naked men dancing, as some letter writers alleged.

"But we have received massive complaints about the bar's hidden danger of fire accidents as too many people swarmed to it for shows," said Kong. "For the sake of public safety, we have to halt its operation until it made rectification to solve the problem."

Beyond that, the bar has neither a business license nor a license to hold stage performances, said Kong.

Lu admitted to Shanghai Daily yesterday that his club had received warnings from the Xuhui fire control bureau to carry out work to its facility to prevent fire accidents.


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