Kraftwerk Barred Over 1998 Free Tibet Concert

Chinese authorities have barred German electronic music legends Kraftwerk from a Beijing festival, apparently because of a cancelled appearance at a concert for Tibetan independence 15 years ago. From Jonathan Kaiman at The Guardian:

According to reports in Beijing, the ministry of culture denied the German quartet a visa because they were scheduled to perform at a pro-Tibetan independence concert in [1998]. In fact, Kraftwerk’s performance at the Washington DC fundraiser was ultimately cancelled because of a lightning storm.

The Beijing-based record label Modern Sky originally invited the German group to headline its three-day Strawberry music festival in late April before China’s ministry of culture denied their application. “Kraftwerk were not allowed to play … because they participated in a Free Tibet concert,” an unnamed Modern Sky employee told Agence France-Presse. “We had already arranged the show, it’s a pity they can’t come, it’s a great shame.”

[… Liz Tung, music editor of Time Out Beijing] added that while cultural authorities might draw the line at Tibet associations, they rarely devote extensive energy to researching foreign acts. “I think kids get disappointed when acts are cancelled, but they’re also used to it,” she said. “They’re used to shows being censored, movies being censored, they’re used to things being pulled at the last minute for stupid reasons.”

Enforcement of rules on visiting foreign musicians was reportedly tightened earlier this year following a concert dedication to Ai Weiwei by Elton John last November. Concert cancellations are not always as they appear, however: reports of a blocked Bob Dylan tour in 2010 turned out to have been made up by a promoter. When Dylan did visit China the following year, he faced strong criticism at home over supposedly selling out and self-censoring, charges he and others vigorously denied.

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