Foreign Performers In China Will Be Scrutinized By Authorities After Elton John Controversy

By Andrew Sullivan | Feb 13, 2013 04:19 PM EST
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Music artists might have to undergo scrutiny and as there has been a tightening up of procedures after singer Elton John dedicated his Beijing tour in November 2012 to political activist and contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei.

After John concluded his gig, November 2012, he showed his support by dedicating the performance "to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei." Reports from The Guardian say that the Chinese authorities wanted  John's manager to sign a statement that said the performance was dedicated to Weiwei as a result of John's admiration for his art.

It was also believed that the culture minister of China, Cai Wu wanted only artists who had a university degree to perform live in China after Elton John controversy.

Ai Weiwei was arrested for being critical of the Chinese government's  stance on democracy and human rights. He was arrested in 2011 and was held for couple of months without being charged but was later released.

It's reported that classical musicians have been asked to show documents of their education and qualifications while applying to tour China. It was also reported that many applications were rejected by the Chinese authorities.

"They are looking closely at videos, making sure that the people on stage are exactly the same as in the visa applications, and so on. It's not a change in the rules as much as a tightening [of existing procedures]," a source told The Guardian.

Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk sparked controversy when she concluded her Shanghai concert by chanting, "Tiber! Tibet!" in support of the Tibet freedom movement. This led to Chinese authorities coming up with stricter rules for live performances in China by foreigners.

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