March 2, 2009 / 5:54 PM / 11 years ago

Oasis "bewildered" after China gigs cancelled

LONDON (Reuters) - British rock band Oasis said on Monday it was “bewildered” by China’s decision to cancel two concerts scheduled to take place on the mainland next month.

Oasis vocalist Liam Gallagher performing in Hong Kong, February 25, 2006. REUTERS/Paul Yeung

The group had expected to play in Beijing on April 3 and Shanghai on April 5.

“Representatives from the Chinese government have revoked the performance licenses already issued for the band and ordered their shows in both Beijing and Shanghai to be immediately canceled,” Oasis said in a statement.

“The Chinese authorities’ action in cancelling these shows marks a reversal of their decision regarding the band which has left both Oasis and the promoters bewildered.”

The statement added that according to the shows’ promoters, the concerts were called off when Chinese authorities discovered band member Noel Gallagher had appeared at a “Free Tibet” benefit concert in the United States in 1997.

As a result the government “deemed that the band are ... unsuitable to perform to their fans in the Chinese Republic.

“Oasis are extremely disappointed that they are now being prevented from undertaking their planned tour of mainland China and hope that the powers that be within China will reconsider their decision and allow the band to perform.”

The rest of the southeast Asian leg of the Oasis tour will go ahead as planned, including a Hong Kong gig on April 7.

Last year China said it would tighten controls over foreign singers after Icelandic pop star Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” at a Shanghai concert.

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since People’s Liberation Army troops marched into the Himalayan region in 1950 and denounces any challenge to its authority.

Despite hosting a raft of high-profile acts in recent years, including the Rolling Stones, China takes pains to ensure concerts are politically correct.

Artists are forbidden to perform content that would harm “national unity” or “stir up resentment” and promoters are asked to submit set-lists and lyric sheets for approval.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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