Canadian pop darling Justin Bieber and the Dalai Lama now have—can you believ(b)e it—two things in common: Both a solid fanbase of religious devotees and a spot on China’s blacklist of foreigners.
The list is particularly strong on musicians. While Western artists are often welcomed in China, Beijing’s Culture Bureau recently issued the following statement in a response to a fan’s online question about why Bieber’s upcoming Asia-wide tour has no dates scheduled in mainland China:
Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer. In order to maintain order in the Chinese market and purify the Chinese performance environment, it is not suitable to bring in badly behaved entertainers.
It did not elaborate, but that “bad behavior” may have included that time Bieber skateboarded through the streets of Beijing on his last tour, or the other time he was carried up the Great Wall of China by his bodyguards. In the US, Bieber has also been arrested for drunk driving, berated for shouting “Fuck Bill Clinton!” at a portrait, and witnessed urinating in a janitor’s bucket; he often seems to have a hard time actually performing his music, as well.
He’s in good company. Below is only a partial list of musicians who have been banned or reprimanded by the Chinese government:
|Lady Gaga||Demonstrated “poor taste and vulgar content.” Also, once publicly had a conversation with the Dalai Lama.|
|Oasis||A band member was discovered to have attended a Tibetan freedom concert in 1997.|
|Guns N’ Roses||Released an album called “Chinese Democracy”—enough said.|
|Elton John||Dedicated a Beijing concert to activist-artist Ai Weiwei.|
|Maroon 5||A band member attended an LA event celebrating the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama.|
|Linkin Park||Took photos with the Dalai Lama.|
|Bjork||Chanted “Tibet! Tibet!” at a Beijing concert.|
|Katy Perry||Wore a controversial potentially-pro-Taiwan sunflower dress at a concert.|
In any case, China doesn’t need Bieber—or any Westerners at all. It’s happy to make its own songs.