China’s cultural crackdown shuts comedy, music shows

In a span of a few days, a Japanese choral band touring China, stand-up comedy shows in several cities, and jazz shows in Beijing, were among more than a dozen that were abruptly called off, The New York Times reported.

Some of the performances were cancelled just minutes before they were supposed to begin and that too without any explanation.

Beijing authorities, just before the performances were scrapped, fined a Chinese comedy studio around USD 2 million, after one of its stand-up performers was accused of insulting the Chinese military in a joke; the police in northern China also detained a woman who had defended the comedian online.

According to The New York Times, those penalties, and the sudden spate of cancellations that followed, point to the growing scrutiny of China’s already heavily censored creative landscape.