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Nine Moving Photos Of Chinese Same-Sex Couples Who Flew To California To Get Married

Seven couples beat more than 2,000 competitors in a contest sponsored by tech giant Alibaba. Some of them have waited for this moment for 13 years.

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Seven Chinese same-sex couples got married on Tuesday at a city library in West Hollywood, California. The wedding trip was sponsored by Alibaba, China's online retail giant.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Another three couples who won the contest were unable to travel to the U.S. because of visa issues.

"I've been having a lot of dreams about the wedding these days; each time I woke up crying," Hu Zhidong, one-half of a couple from Beijing, told BuzzFeed News. He and his new husband, Liu Xing, have been together for eight years.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Alibaba worked with LGBT rights organizations and the gay social networking app Blued to run this contest in February. Alibaba is the largest of several Chinese companies that have mounted PR efforts targeting gay and lesbian consumers in recent years. The unusually long detention this spring of five feminist activists — one of whom worked for an LGBT rights organization — appears to signal that the Chinese government is watching this kind of work even more closely.

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Same-sex marriage is still unrecognized in China. The country removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 2001.

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For more than a decade, LGBT rights activists in China have been running advocacy campaigns for marriage equality — especially around Valentine's Day — because it is a way to talk about LGBT rights without getting into more explicitly political terrain that could get them in trouble with the authorities.

But least two members of China's state-run media, Reference News and Beijing's Mirror Evening News, posted about the wedding on Weibo. "Love and to be loved are basic rights of everybody, [we] hope [society] could be more tolerant," the latter wrote.

The wedding ceremony was officiated by Mayor Lindsey Horvath.

VIDEO from today's special group wedding of 7 same-sex couples from China: http://t.co/zSJkCHu84r #weho #westhollywood

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Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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