After an international gay pageant at the weekend a Chinese contestant said he was scared of returning to his hometown, after police shut down a similar event in China.
Xiao Dai, 25, who runs an AIDS prevention organisation in Urumqi, the capital of China's restive Xinjiang region, returned from Norway -- where the global contest took place -- on Tuesday after coming fourth out of 24.
Advertisement"I'm scared to go back to Urumqi, not for myself but I'm scared that it will impact my organisation. If the organisation can't continue its work, that will be no good," he told AFP by phone from Beijing, where he is currently staying.
"It's very possible that will happen," he added.
Xiao Dai was one of eight contestants due to take part in China's first gay pageant in January, aimed at picking someone to attend the global contest.
Organisers had hoped the event would help underline what many have said are growing signs of acceptance of gay men and women in China, where homosexuality was a crime until 1997 and officially considered a mental illness until 2001.
But police cancelled the public event at the last minute, so the contestants and organisers quietly voted for Xiao Dai to represent China anyway at the four-day pageant in Oslo that ended on February 14.
"We didn't want any media to publicise this, as after Mr Gay China was cancelled, we were really scared we would be stopped from going," Xiao Dai said.
"So we said we weren't sending anyone, and it was only after I stepped on the plane that it was publicised."
He was due to go back to Urumqi on Thursday, and said he hoped his participation in the event would be an encouragement for gay people around China.
"I also hope that this will grab the attention of officials and will help change their views on homosexuality," he said.