Russian authorities have arrested Haoyang Xu, a Chinese LGBTQ blogger, accusing him of violating a law that prohibits the promotion of same-sex “propaganda.”

Adel Khaydarshin, the lawyer representing Xu and his partner, confirmed the arrest and subsequent hearing on Thursday. Xu is currently being held in a temporary detention centre for foreigners and may face deportation from Russia.

This arrest follows the signing of a bill by Russian President Vladimir Putin months ago, which expanded the existing ban on LGBTQ “propaganda.” The legislation criminalises promoting same-sex relationships or suggesting that non-heterosexual orientations are normal.


Gela Gogishvili, Xu’s Russian partner, has also been charged under the same law but has not yet been arrested, according to Khaydarshin.

Gogishvili could face fines of up to 200,000 Rubles (almost NZD $4,000). The couple has been openly documenting their life as a same-sex couple in Russia through social media platforms.

Court documents provided to CNN by Khaydarshin state that Xu was arrested for allegedly posting videos featuring “non-traditional sexual relations” with Gogishvili. The content in question includes the couple kissing, hugging, and touching each other.

According to the court documents, authorities discovered the footage while examining the couple’s YouTube account. Also, they alleged that nearly 1,800 of the account’s 64,900 subscribers were under 18.

Images and video posted to the couple’s Telegram feed show Xu handcuffed and escorted by police. Xu has not yet been deported and has the option to appeal the court’s decision, according to his lawyer.