ELTON JOHN: Support for Dissident Will Limit Western Performers Visiting China
Elton John's words of support for a Chinese dissident during his December show in Beijing have resulted in a crackdown on foreign performers. London's Guardian says dedicating the performance to Ai Weiwei also led police to ask Elton's manager to sign a statement saying the comment was inspired only out of admiration for Ai's art.
After a meeting between Ai and Elton, the Chinese artist posted on Twitter: "I super like him." That led a government-run newspaper to attack the rock legend as "disrespectful," as he "forcibly added political content to the concert."
Now, only artists with college degrees will be allowed into the People's Republic. That will clearly shrink the number of visiting western pop stars -- and is already having an impact on classical artists being invited to China.