Who Says You Can't Go Home? Definitely not China.
As the next milestone in their over 30 year long career, Bon Jovi were set to play their first ever shows in China next week. The band seemed really stoked about the opportunity - back in August, Jon Bon Jovi recorded a Chinese love song called "Moon Represents My Heart," entirely in Mandarin!
However, online sales for the upcoming shows have come to a halt. But why? Why deprive Chinese fans from living out the worldwide dream of belting out "Livin' On A Prayer?" Everyone likes belting out "Livin' On A Prayer!"
Turns out, Bon Jovi used some very offensive imagery in a past performance that got Chinese officials all riled up. Bon Jovi's use of the likeness of a very dangerous figure in a 2010 show in Taiwan, gave the '80s icons a one way ticket to Bans-ville.
The figure in question?
There's some not so fun history here. You see, there's that whole thing about the Dalai Lama being exiled to India, for seeking autonomy for Tibet. After a successful uprising in 1959, the Chinese government labeled him as a a threat and a separatist, despite his many attempts to say he was not seeking true independence for Tibet. Seeing as this year marks the 50th anniversary of Tibet coming under Chinese control, China is looking to crack down on any activity that seems to support the separation of Tibet.
Ban ALL the peace lovers! Bon Jovi is far from the first to be banned for showing the Dalai Lama in a positive light. This summer, Maroon 5 had their Chinese shows cancelled after one of the guys tweeted a Happy Birthday message to the Dalai Lama. Noel Gallagher's appearance at a Free Tibet concert got Oasis on the banned list. Even Linkin Park got banned back in 2011, after being photographed with the Dalai Lama at a youth conference, but were allowed to play a handful of dates earlier this year. Looks like Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi just have bad timing.
Moms need to have fun too. Bummer for Chinese Bon Jovi fans. It is a shame that the mere association with a figure who is known just about everywhere else as an icon of peace, is enough for a country-wide ban. While far from the only country that has taken a liking to banning artists, it's not like Bon Jovi did anything intentionally wrong. Can you really see a riot going down at a Bon Jovi show? I'm not sure what their demographic is in China, but the image I know of Bon Jovi fans typically consists of swooning moms. China has a lot to worry about when it comes to a separatist movement, but I'm sure Bon Jovi has nothing to do with that.
All they wanted to do was spread some peace and love, and the Chinese government is giving that love...a bad name.