Police Shut Down 'Mr. Gay China' Pageant Police say organizers didn't apply 'according to procedures' By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jan 15, 2010 2:01 PM CST 13 comments Comments A promotional image for the canceled "Mr. Gay China." (Newser) – Chinese police shut down the “Mr. Gay China” pageant an hour before it was set to start, saying the organizers didn’t apply for permissions “according to the procedures.” The event was seen as a symbol of China’s newfound acceptance of homosexuality, which was illegal in the country until 1997 and classified as a mental illness until 2001, reports the BBC. Most of the people involved with the pageant aren’t buying the police's excuse. “I believe it had something to do with the issue of homosexuality,” one of the judges said. “It’s a disaster,” a contestant said. “I’m full of disappointment. I thought the government was becoming more and more tolerant.” China pulled a similar stunt last June, telling the country’s first Gay Pride Festival to cancel two of its sessions.