Bon Jovi concerts in China cancelled due to support for Tibet and Dalai Lama

A string of Bon Jovi’s first-ever concerts in China have been cancelled, presumable after the Culture Ministry discovered a photo of Bon Jovi with the Dalai Lama

World Religion News:

It looks like Jon Bon Jovi won’t be singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” in Mandarin any time soon. The long-standing rock front man of the self-named band Bon Jovi would have been performing for the very first time in China at major concerts in Beijing and Shanghai if the Chinese government hadn’t forced those shows to be canceled, TIME reported. Currently on a major world tour with concert dates scheduled across Asia in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and others, the dates scheduled in Bangkok and Shanghai were canceled by Chinese authorities, who have not given any explicit reasons to the band or to the organizers of the tour, AEG Live Asia.

The most prevalent theory about why the sudden cancellations occurred that has been circulating the Internet is relatively obvious considering, if it turns out to be true, Bon Jovi would just be part of a string of bands to be banned from performing shows in China because of their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. As was reported in the Financial Times, apparently the very powerful and influential Culture Ministry for China’s ruling Communist Party found an image of Bon Jovi performing in front of a giant video screen with His Holiness the Dalai Lama featured on it at a concert in 2010.

“The issue of Tibet is especially sensitive right now as the Communist Party marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of what it calls the Tibet Autonomous Region”, said TIME.

Approaching the ever controversial 50th anniversary of what many in the Western world view as a continuing travesty in which China began governing Tibet after the Battle of Chamdo in 1950, the same time when the current Dalai Lama was enthroned. After being forced into exile in India with the remnants of the Tibetan government, where they established the Central Tibetan Administration in exile.

Pro-Tibet stances are not new or unusual, and many of the world’s most famous stars and celebrities have made public their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. There have been several other bands and musicians who have found themselves banned from China for support of Tibet, like Bjork in 2008, to Maroon 5, who were supposed to play a concert in China this month, but were forced to cancel after one member of the band tweeted a “Happy Birthday” message to the Dalai Lama’s active Twitter account of nearly 12 million followers.

TIME reports that Bon Jovi’s Chinese concerts’ organizers were attempting to convince the Culture Ministry of the People’s Republic of China to reconsider the move to cancel the concerts, but it does not appear at this time that Bon Jovi’s status in China is likely to change.

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China repeats rejection of Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’ for Tibet

 

Voice of America:

 

Tibetans play their traditional musical instruments to commemorate Serf Liberation Day in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, March 27, 2014.

Tibetans play their traditional musical instruments to commemorate Serf Liberation Day in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, March 27, 2014.

China has marked the 55th anniversary of the dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa with another explicit rejection of the so-called “middle way” approach of the Dalai Lama that emphasizes autonomy for the region.In the televised speech Thursday on state-run Tibet TV, the chairman of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region [TAR], Losang Gyaltsen, said the Dalai Lama’s approach is “a camouflaged approach” that seeks Tibet’s independence.

Tibet cannot be independent, neither can it be a semi-independence or disguised independence,” Gyaltsen said, standing next to China’s national flag.

He added that China’s fight against a “Western enemy force” and the “Dalai Clique” is an important political fight for unity versus separation, democracy versus authoritarianism, and progress versus backwardness.

Kunga Tashi, who works in New York for the exiled Tibetan government, said the statement shows that Chinese leaders are unwilling to compromise to solve the Tibetan problem.

The middle way approach agrees with the principle [demand] of China,” he said. “We say we are not separating from China, if we get a meaningful autonomy.”

In addition to the speech Thursday, Chinese officials carried out a campaign this week to highlight how much they say conditions have improved in Tibet since China took over.

Beijing frequently cites improved living standards in the region when defending its rule. Tibetan exile MP Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa said the comparison of old and modern societies is just an excuse.

China has no historical and legal support to occupy Tibet,” Bapa told VOA Tibetan service, speaking in Tibetan. “So they need to say old Tibet was dark and backward, and they came to develop Tibet. Such policy was used by other colonizers.”

The anniversary, which China calls “Serf Liberation Day,” marks Beijing’s 1959 dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa shortly after the Dalai Lama fled into exile. The date, however, has been officially commemorated only since 2009.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Tibetan service.

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