Fans at a Dua Lipa concert in China last night were ejected for waving Pride flags.
On social media, users criticized security at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai for forcefully removing concertgoers for displaying the pro-LGBTQ symbol. Others were ejected for just dancing in their seats.
Crowds were also apparently attacked outside the arena, located in Shanghai’s Qingpu district.
“I just CANT believe it. This is the show of Dua Lipa in Shanghai,” posted one Twitter user. “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 [you] out. It’s unbelievable.”
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
— Eman Adores Dua//ELECTRICITY. (@DUASLUCIFER) September 12, 2018
— SubwaySucker (@dr_jolin) September 12, 2018
The 23-year-old singer, who was making her Chinese debut, appeared to get emotional onstage. “I want to create a really safe environment for us all to have fun,” she told fans near the end of the concert. “I want us all to dance. I want us all to sing. I want us all to just have a really good time.”
#DuaLipa #DuaLipaMNL #DuaLipaMNL2018 #Shanghai OMG she's crying, she's unhappy, ok?? Who the hell made such a stupid rule told the audience can't stand up during watching the concert?? We want to have fun here, ok??? We're in a live show, not in a meeting!!！ RIDICULOUS😡😡😡😡 pic.twitter.com/qVGZuse65a
— Belief WILD (@Belief_wild) September 12, 2018
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, but the government has cracked down lately, censoring LGBTQ content on television and social media.
The pop star has since addressed the incidents at the Dua Lipa concert via Instagram, saying in part, “What you did takes a lot of bravery. I always want my music to bring strength, hope and unity. I was horrified by what happened and I send love to all my fans involved. I would love to come back for my fans when the time is right and hopefully see a room full of rainbows. I love you Shanghai xx”
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Last night I did it for my fans. A promised show. I stood by them, sang with them and danced with them. I will stand by you all for your love and beliefs and I am proud and grateful that you felt safe enough to show your pride at my show. What you did takes a lot of bravery. I always want my music to bring strength, hope and unity. I was horrified by what happened and I send love to all my fans involved. I would love to come back for my fans when the time is right and hopefully see a room full of rainbows. I love you Shanghai xx
In a 2016 Gay Times interview Dua Lipa claimed artists “should really use their power and presence on social media to just put it out there and show support. It’s important, because different people look up to them, and they should use that voice to their advantage.”
The Shanghai Dua Lipa concert incident comes almost exactly a year after several people were arrested in Cairo for waving rainbow flags during a show by Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila. That group’s lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is openly gay and a number of the band’s songs address homosexuality.