Justin Bieber barred from China over ‘bad behaviour’

Beijing’s culture bureau says the Canadian singer is unsuitable for Chinese ears

File image of Canadian singer Justin Bieber performing on stage in Paris, France. File photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

File image of Canadian singer Justin Bieber performing on stage in Paris, France. File photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

 

“I just need one more shot at second chances,” Justin Bieber sings on his latest album.

Not least, it seems, with Chinese authorities, who have announced that the Canadian pop idol will not be allowed to perform in the People’s Republic because of his on- and off-stage antics.

Bieber will jet into Asia later this year as part of his Purpose World Tour, with shows scheduled in Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong. But Beliebers in mainland China look set to be disappointed.

In a statement posted on its website this week, Beijing’s culture bureau explained that unspecified misdemeanours meant the artist, who has had repeated run-ins with the law - including for drunken drag-racing in a yellow Lamborghini - was unsuitable for Chinese ears.

“Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer,” said the bureau, in response to a fan’s demand for a “detailed explanation” about the star’s absence from Chinese stages.

“As far as we are concerned, he has engaged in a series of bad behaviours, both in his social life and during a previous performance in China, which caused discontent among the public.”

The bureau did not detail the exact behaviour that had landed Bieber in its bad books, saying only that in order to “purify” China’s performing arts it had decided the singer’s exclusion was appropriate.

The singer performed in China in 2013 as part of his Believe Tour, raising eyebrows when he was pictured being carried up the Great Wall of China by his bodyguards.

Political rows

Bieber joins an illustrious list of foreign artists who have found themselves shut out of China’s music industry, although most have been targeted for political, not behavioural, reasons.

In 2015, Maroon 5 were forced to scrap shows in mainland China after the group’s keyboard player sent birthday wishes to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

In 2009, Oasis were barred after frontman Noel Gallagher performed at a Free Tibet concert in New York.

Beijing’s culture bureau made it clear that it was not saying never to the Canadian artist: “We hope Justin Bieber is able to improve his conduct as he grows up and will once again find public favour.”

Guardian service