Hopes of seeing the first mainland Chinese compete for Mr Gay World next month in Oslo, Norway, have been dashed after organisers of Mr Gay China decided not to send a contestant to the event, apparently due to pressure from authorities. Ben Zhang, co-organiser of Mr Gay China, said yesterday they were unlikely to restart the pageant, which was closed down by police before it could begin on Friday, in public or private in the foreseeable future. Organisers had initially planned to select privately a candidate from the eight contestants. Zhang would not rule out a gay pageant at some time in the future, but his words implied pressure from authorities. 'It's definite there will be no contestant to represent mainland China in the Mr Gay World competition this time,' he said. 'Who would dare to go?' Beijing police shut down the Mr Gay China competition just before it was due to start on Friday without an explanation, though mainland media quoted Chaoyang district police as saying the organisers had cancelled the event voluntarily. Zhang said the organisers were told they had not obtained the permits necessary to host the pageant, but publicly they had to make the excuse that they could not proceed because the trophies were not ready. Associated Press quoted Tore Aasheim, executive producer of Worldwide Mr Gay, as saying Chinese organisers told him mainland officials had confiscated their passports and threatened to strip any attendees of citizenship if they travelled to Oslo, but Zhang denied that. Homosexuality remains a sensitive topic in China, with many gays staying in the closet for fear of discrimination. The mainland's first gay pageant, which received great exposure, particularly in international media, had caused discomfort in some quarters of the public for 'bringing shame upon the country'. Aasheim was quoted as saying he was 'saddened and surprised that the Chinese authorities took such steps ... China once again shows that they don't honour human rights'. The last-minute cancellation of the event before a throng of reporters, including many from international media, was perplexing as both state-run Xinhua English and the China Daily gave it extensive coverage. Xinhua English even followed up with a story on the cancellation. Dr Zhang Zhian of Fudan University's journalism school in Shanghai said both outlets were often given more freedom as they were positioned for international media. But Zhang said confusion over the coverage was a result of a misconception of the role of state-run media outlets, as they do not always reflect official views. 'For the coverage of the Mr Gay China event, the news outlets themselves had little idea of what their reports mean to censors and authorities,' he said. Professor Zhang Beichuan of Qingdao University, who specialises in gay cultural studies, said cancellation was the result of a communications breakdown between organisers and authorities.