China Power

If in Doubt, Blame the Censors

There’s apparently more than meets the eye to a promoter’s claims of censorship.

It seems I’m not the only one to question the veracity of the spin put on the cancellation of Bob Dylan’s concerts in Beijing and Shanghai by the promoters.

The Chinese government has made itself a convenient scapegoat through its tight (often misguided) restrictions on the media and freedom of expression. But it can’t be blamed for everything, a point made by the China Music radar blog, which notes what it says was a 3-month saga of promises that couldn’t be kept:

‘When we first announced that Dylan was meant to be touring, we noted that BBH [the promoter] had promised a massive guarantee for the entire 5 date run. Our initial sources put that figure at close to US$2m. At the same time, there were questions raised about BBH’s cash flow. They had guaranteed this astronomical amount in order to flip the shows to individual promoters for a vastly inflated fee (HERE). At the same time, it was rumored that the local promoters weren’t biting, particularly in China.’