LGBTQ advocacy group halts operations in China

An advocacy group for China's LGBTQ community has announced it will suspend its operations. Western media report that Chinese authorities are ratcheting up their crackdown on the community.

The Beijing LGBT Center said on its official social media account on Monday that it will stop operating due to uncontrollable circumstances.

The non-profit organization, established in 2008, says it offers counseling and holds lectures and other events to eliminate discrimination and prejudice against the LGBTQ community in China.

Western media say Chinese authorities are accusing the group of spreading Western values that could undermine the rule of the Communist Party.

In China, social media accounts of several LGBTQ groups were reportedly deleted two years ago.

The leadership under President Xi Jinping is stepping up pressure on citizens criticizing the government or demanding freedom.

Observers say Beijing is nervous that moves to advocate the rights of the LGBTQ community could lead to criticism of its rule.