(TibetanReview.net, Sep11, 2015) – China’s Ministry of Culture has cancelled a scheduled concert by the American rock star Jon Bon Jovi, with an incidental connection with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, being seen as one possible reason for it. While China has given no official reason for the cancellation, the rock star’s management has attributed it to “unforeseen circumstances”. This was to be the first tour in China for the New Jersey rock band Bon Jovi.
China’s possible reasons for the cancellation include the fact that images had been circulating of a picture of the Dalai Lama in the backdrop of a Jon Bon Jovi concert in Taipei in 2010. However, another is a video for the 2009 hit ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ featuring the iconic ‘Tank Man’ photograph of Tiananmen Square.
The Jon Bon Jovi band was otherwise slated to perform on Sep 14 in Shanghai and on Sep 17 in Beijing.
China is under renewed crackdown on freedom and human rights as its economy falters under its most powerful leader in recent decades, the state President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.
In Jul 2015, China forced the cancellation of Shanghai and Beijing concerts of the popular American pop-rock band Maroon 5 because one of its members, keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, had greeted the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday in his Tweeter account. The band’s concerts were scheduled in the two Chinese cities in September as part of its Asia tour.
Back in 2008, the Icelandic singer Bjork had shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” while performing her song “Declare Independence”, which led to angry reactions from the Chinese government. China’s official media cited the country’s Ministry of Culture as saying the performance “not only broke Chinese laws and regulations and hurt the feelings of Chinese people, but also went against the professional code of an artist.”
Then in 2009, China canned a tour by the British band Oasis after discovering that its lead vocalist Noel Gallagher had participated in a Free Tibet concert 12 years earlier. And in 2011, China barred Linkin Park from performing in the country after the metal rap group was photographed with the Dalai Lama at a youth media conference in Los Angeles.