Unlike in many Western countries, Pride is still not celebrated widely by brands in China, though some global brands continue to distribute their rainbow-themed LGBTQI+ campaigns on Chinese channels too.
In a blow to Pride progress in China, last year, China’s longest-running Pride march, ShanghaiPRIDE, announced it was shutting down, citing safety concerns for those involved in organising its events. This year, it returned on a smaller scale with a “rainbow party”, sponsored by Absolut, held last week.
After bringing its global Pride campaign to China for the first time in 2020, footwear brand UGG did the same again this year with a gender-neutral collection. Though the China campaign is an extension of its global effort, the version seen in China was fronted by Jiang Sida, one of the country’s few openly gay celebrities.
Levi’s brought its Pride activations to China for the third-year running, not only offering its rainbow-accented denim for the occasion, but also partnering with Absolut on gift boxes with Levi’s Pride Rainbow products, and Absolut’s rainbow vodka, lipsticks, and a pass for the ShanghaiPRIDE rainbow party.
Though there is a growing acceptance of LGBTQI+ identities in China, especially among young people, LGBTQI+-themed content is often censored within the country, and censorship and cultural sensitivities are at a particularly high level this year as the Communist Party readies to celebrate 100 years since its founding, perhaps discouraging more brands from participating in Pride-related promotions.