The concert organizer AEG posted the cancellation on its public account on Sina Weibo: “We are sorry to announce that Bon Jovi’s concerts in Shanghai (September 14th) and Beijing (September 17th) have been canceled for some reason. A full ticket refund will be arranged. We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment.”
Inconvenience and disappointment indeed. Many fans have been waiting for this concert for years and were thrilled about the upcoming gigs. Fans who don’t live in Shanghai or Beijing have booked flights and hotels just for the concert.
Weibo user “Z_SCAN” comments,
“We purchased the concert tickets in June and booked the flights and hotels. The concerts is due on 14th and you told us it’s canceled on 9th? Do you think the ticket refund could solve all the problems? What about the flights and the hotels we’ve booked? Do you have any idea how upset we are?”
Angry, disappointed, regretful and helpless. Chinese fans are fed up that the organizer did not even offer a reason for the cancellation as usual.
“What was the reason?” user “Aoe518” asks, just like a lot of other fans.
“If it’s the same reason with Maroon 5’s concert in July, then I’m wondering how Bon Jovi’s concert got approved in the first place? If the organizer can’t handle the authorities and Culture Ministry (文化部), please do not invite any international performers over to China! It has happened so many times in the past already.”
Although no official reason was given for the cancelation, netizens and fans have figured that it was political related. As media reports suggest that the Party discovered the US rock band had performed in front of a picture of Dalai Lama at a concert in Taiwan five years ago and had previously tweeted about the spiritual leader.
The issue of Tibet has always been sensitive in China and it’s extremely sensitive at the moment as the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region is approaching.
Bon Jovi’s fans on Weibo call on “let the music away from politics”. User “Zhao_Z” says,
“Music can heal and comfort us. It is a way to express individual freedom and make us think deeply. China is doing really a bad job on this. The government has closed the door to so many great musical and television works. We have the right to hear other voices and opinions!”
User “Star Commander” criticizes that China is a narrow-minded nation.
“Bon Jovi is such a good public figure – positive lyrics, healthy performance form, no sandal, etc. The gig got canceled in China simply because of a picture of a monk? This is unbelievable. If China keeps being so narrow-minded, we will always be looked down upon by other countries.”
Other netizens can’t help but tease that the gig’s name should have been
“Long Live the Community Party · Jon Bon Jovi China Live”.
Gao Xiaosong, song writer as well as the Chairman of Alibaba Music Group also posts on his Weibo page that Alibaba Music had to postpone a lot of projects due to political reasons.
“(The government) wishes only if they could provide each Chinese individuals with a political advisor (政治辅导员) and each company with a political commissar (政委).”
However, not all the netizens are disappointed about the cancelation of the gig. Some believe that the government has made the right choice. User “Lakeshire” insists,
“As a celebrity, you are not supposed to interfere with other countries’ politics, especially if you are about to make tons of money from that country. Since Bon Jovi has chosen to support DL (Dalai Lama), he should get prepared to be banned.”
She continues that Chinese fans shouldn’t support any separatist to perform in China.
“What if they play all of these pictures of DL (Dalai Lama)during the concert in Shanghai and Beijing?”
Chinese netizens rarely talks about Dalai Lama on Weibo. Dalai Lama (达赖喇嘛) and Dalai (达赖) are not searchable on Weibo according to the relevant laws and regulations (根据相关法律法规和政策). Weibo users are “openly” commenting on the cancelation announcement, replacing the key words with “DL”, “some Lai (某赖)” or “the monk”.