China has banned pop idol Justin Bieber from performing on the mainland because of his “bad behavior” on and off the stage.
The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture said the ban was necessary to “purify” the country’s entertainment industry but suggested it was not permanent, expressing the hope that Bieber might improve his behavior and earn back the love of his fans. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter has had run-ins with the law over alleged drunk driving and drag racing.
Compared to British alternative rock band Placebo, Bieber was the lucky one. The group has had to cancel its gig at the Summer Sonic Festival in Shanghai in September and faces a lifetime ban from performing in China after posting a picture of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, on the band’s official Instagram page. China considers the Nobel Peace Prize-winning monk a dangerous separatist.
The temporary Bieber ban emerged after someone posted a question on the Beijing culture bureau’s website last weekend asking why the Canadian singer was not allowed to perform in mainland China as part of his Asia tour in September. The tour, to promote his latest album, “Purpose,” takes in Tokyo, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore.
“Please give a detailed explanation of why Justin Bieber is not allowed to come to China! [He] has won many major awards, which demonstrates his extraordinary talents. Why aren’t mainland fans given the right to enjoy his performance?” the questioner wrote.
The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture replied Tuesday that Bieber’s “bad behavior” was the reason.
“We sympathize with your feelings. Justin Bieber is a talented singer but is also a controversial young foreign idol. We understand that there are records of his bad behavior, whether it is in his private life abroad or on stage….
“His inappropriate manner has caused public discontent. In order to regulate the market order of show business in China and purify the market environment, it was decided that performers of inappropriate behavior will not be welcomed.”
Bieber had been to China previously. While touring the country in 2013, he was captured on camera being carried up to the Great Wall of China by Chinese bodyguards. The incident was seen by many Chinese as offensive.
It’s not uncommon for China to ban foreign artists and performers for political reasons. In 2008, Icelandic pop queen Bjork was banned after calling for Tibetan independence during a gig in Shanghai. Maroon 5 and Oasis also faced similar fates after showing support for Tibet.
By Vivienne Chow