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August 3, 2011

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Gay club may close over sex claims

A RECENTLY opened gay nightclub faces being closed by Xuhui District government after claims that "pornographic activities" took place there.

Club Angel, which was launched in June, is the latest in a series of gay venues in the city to face being shut down following complaints.

The owner of the club, Ricky Lu, said he was told by the district government officials that "gay venues are neither welcome nor allowed along Hengshan Road."

The district government said it was unaware of this claim.

Operations at the 800-square-meter club at Wulumuqi Road, near Hengshan Road, were suspended last Thursday.

This followed claims that half-naked patrons were engaged in sexual activities in the club.

Club Angel published an announcement online, denying the accusations and branding them "an attack on the gay community."

Lu said an official with Xuhui District government refused to carry out bar and food safety inspections, and thus would not issue a business license.

"The official said they couldn't give the pass because they had received around 40 complaint letters, with pictures and descriptions, reporting pornographic activities," said Lu,

"But that's total nonsense."

He said to prove its innocence, the bar had uploaded video clips on its official microblog at, showing customers drinking and dancing.

Lu believed the complaint letters were sent by other bars along the street, jealous that the nightspot was extremely popular among the gay community, and sometimes attracted 1,000 customers.

Lu said he that would write to the city government, asking whether gay venues can open in the city. "If we get a reply that the gay venues are not allowed, we will quit the business forever," said Lu.

Officials with Xuhui District government told Shanghai Daily yesterday that they were still investigating the incident.

On the microblog, a heated discussion has started on the future of venues for the gay community in Shanghai.

A blogger, nicknamed "Xili," said he believed the city was still not completely tolerant of the gay community as gay venues were frequently watched by police.

"Even if the gay pubs have been allowed to open, the supervising authorities can shut them down at any time by finding problems with safety issues," he said.

In April, Q Bar in Huangpu District was closed after police raided it, acting on tip-offs that gay sex shows took place there.

Last year, gay bar Shanghai Studio in Xuhui District was told it faced being shut down if its patrons kept disturbing nearby residents. Shanghai Studio is still open.


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