Bon Jovi was scheduled to play two dates — in Beijing and Shanghai — but ticket sales were abruptly halted with no reason given and the performances scrapped, according to local blogs.
The ticket sellers Damai.cn confirmed that they had stopped selling tickets at the behest of the concert organisers, but were not told why.
“The concert is likely to be cancelled, we are still waiting for confirmation,” a customer service agent for Damai, who declined to give her name, told AFP. “We do not know the specific reasons.”
Jon Bon Jovi recently recorded a video of him singing in Mandarin ahead of his planned concerts.
Some speculated the shows may have been cancelled because of Bon Jovi’s inclusion of imagery of the Dalai Lama in shows with one blogger writing, “seems somebody spent a bit too much time with the saffron robe crowd,” referring to the colour of Tibetan monk robes.
The band featured images of the Dalai Lama in a video that played with several concerts — including in Washington — in 2010, according to reports at the time.
Maroon 5 cancelled its China concert in July after authorities refused permission because a band member had met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Chinese officials have been especially sensitive about live concerts since Bjork chanted “Tibet” during her song “Declare Independence” in 2008.
Authorities censor content they deem to be politically sensitive or obscene, while international music acts are required to submit set lists for major concerts in advance.
Last year, the suggestive lyrics of “Honky Tonk Women” were apparently too much for China’s cultural authorities as the Rolling Stones said the chart-topping song was “vetoed” for their show.