Despite Beijing's fierce attempts to prevent him, a Chinese contestant will take part in the Mr Gay World pageant to be held in Oslo this weekend, an organizer has revealed.
Last month, Beijing police blocked China's first gay pageant, in which contestants were vying for the right to represent China at Mr Gay World, telling the organisers they did not have the proper permit.
"Chinese authorities did not want a Chinese contestant to come to Norway to take part in our pageant but thanks to the Norwegian embassy, which rushed his visa delivery, the participant arrived yesterday (Tuesday) in Oslo," Mr Gay World 2010 director Tore Aasheim told AFP.
Aasheim said the Chinese contestant -- whose identity he would not reveal -- had been selected by his peers, the other contestants in the blocked Chinese pageant, to represent their country at this year's Mr Gay World.
"It is very courageous on his part to have taken the risk to leave his country to take part in an event to which Chinese authorities are hostile," Aasheim said.
"In Beijing, all the contestants were gathered in one room and police clearly indicated they did not want a Chinese participation in the pageant. It's very uncomfortable to receive such a message in a country where human rights are not the main priority," he added.
This year, 24 contestants from five continents are to compete in Oslo for the Mr Gay World title in the second edition of the competition.
An Irishman was crowned the winner last year in the first holding of the pageant, held in Whistler, Canada.
Homosexuality was a crime in China until 1997 and it was officially considered a mental illness until 2001. Since then, however, an increasing number of visible gay and lesbian events has taken place.
Although many gay people say the situation in China has improved over the past few years, especially in big cities, they typically say it remains difficult to come out to their friends and family.