Maroon 5's sold-out concerts in Beijing and Shanghai slated for September were suddenly canceled with no reason given by Live Nation, which was promoting the shows.
"Z100 Jingle Ball," Madison Square Garden Arena, New York City
December 12, 2014
Speculation has been rife in the media, however, that the cancellations had something to do with a tweet posted by the band's keyboard player, Jesse Carmichael, on July 4. In the message, Carmichael sent out felicitations to the Dalai Lama, whose 80th birthday celebration he attended.
The tweet and a linked photograph on Instagram have since been deleted. The Dalai Lama, of course, is a bugbear of the Chinese authorities, who accuse the spiritual leader of advocating for Tibetan independence.
According to the Beijing edition of the entertainment magazine Time Out, just meeting the Dalai Lama "is all an artist needs to get a big X on their visa application."
The Guardian has reported that Chinese social media sites have since been filled with discussions about the meaning of the cancellation. Some of the messages attacking Maroon 5 seemed to be posted by "state sponsored internet stooges" known as the "50 cent party," which refers to how much they are paid per post.
However, many were obviously from fans who wondered what on earth Carmichael was thinking when he publicly tweeted support for the Dalai Lama. On the other hand, a few commentators expressed bewilderment. "Attending a friend's birthday is the same as approving of their political views?" wrote one in frustration.
The Chinese government have made no official pronouncements on the band or the cancellation. In any case, the group can comfort itself with the knowledge they are in good company: Bjork, Oasis, Linkin Park, Bob Dylan and Elton John have rubbed the communist government the wrong way in the past.
The group is still set to perform in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.