But as those cities showed signs of being more tolerant, Guangzhou authorities were starting to crack down in People's Park — a shady oasis of trees and gazebos in the middle of the muggy, traffic-congested city. The park is popular with youngsters who play badminton or retirees practicing their ballroom-dancing moves to stereos blasting out tunes like "Sukiyaki," the Japanese ballad that became a hit in the U.S. in the 1960s.
For years, the park has also been a favorite hangout for gay men, especially among the young or working-class who can't afford the bars and restaurants around town that cater to the community. The men — many dressed in tank tops and tight jeans — stroll around the park or sit together on a long line of stone benches. Nearby is a public restroom, where some men have sex — a source of much of the friction with the police.
I wish gay rights activists would come up with a solution to this problem of sex in public restrooms. They usually act as if this is all about homophobia, when it is usually about this kind of obnoxious behavior. But I guess they want parks around the world to follow the lead of the park in Amsterdam that just gave up and designated areas where gays have sex.