Li Tingting and her partner Teresa Xu wed at a restaurant in the Chinese capital surrounded by their friends last Thursday (July 4), CNN reports.
Dressed in white bridal gowns, the couple told reporters that they had planned to try and make the marriage official at their local registry office but were warned against "making a scene" by police.
Li is a well-known women's rights campaigner in China, and detained by the government for 37 days along with five others earlier this year in a crackdown on social activism.
During her incarceration she wasn'r allowed to see Teresa because their relationship is not recognised, Li explained."I hope by doing this, we're married no matter whether it's legal or not," she said. "We're married women now!" Homosexuality was decriminalised in China in 1997, but according to a 2013 US survey, only 21% of China's population say they accept homosexuality. More stories: Watch: Heterosexual couples forced underground in new LGBT film ‘Ex’-gay Christian leader says LGBT characters on kids’ TV will lead to paedophilia