China Ramps Up Culture Crackdown, Canceling Music and Comedy Shows

But the apparent fallout was not limited to comedy. Scheduled musical performances began disappearing, too, including a stop in southern China by a Shanghai rock band that includes foreign members, a Beijing folk music festival and several jazz performances, and a Canadian rapper’s show in the southern city of Changsha.

The frontman of a Buddhist-influenced Japanese chorus group, Kissaquo, said last Wednesday that his concert that night in the southern city of Guangzhou had been canceled. Hours later, the frontman, Kanho Yakushiji, said a performance in Hangzhou, in eastern China, had been canceled, too. And the next day, he announced that Beijing and Shanghai shows had also been called off.

“I was writing a set list, but I stopped in the middle,” Mr. Yakushiji, whose management company did not respond to a request for comment, wrote on his Facebook page. “I still don’t understand what the meaning of all this is. I have nothing but regrets.”

Organizers’ announcements for nearly all of the canceled events cited “force majeure,” a term that means circumstances beyond one’s control — and, in China, has often been used as shorthand for government pressure.

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