Chinese authorities have hardened their line on foreign musicians, afterElton John infuriated them by dedicating a performance to outspoken artist and activist Ai Weiwei, according to industry sources. Police arrived to interview the singer shortly after he announced that the performance, which took place in Beijing last November, was dedicated “to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei”, according to two sources. One said officers wanted John’s manager to sign a statement saying the dedication was inspired only by admiration for Ai’s art. John’s spokesman declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian.
Ai and John met briefly before the Beijing show, with Ai subsequently announcing to fans on Twitter: “I super like him.” John was allowed to go ahead with a scheduled concert in Guangzhou in early December. But the English language edition of state-run newspaper Global Times attacked John. It said the singer was “disrespectful” when he “forcibly added political content to the concert”, adding: “If they had known that this concert would be dedicated to Ai Weiwei, many in the audience would not have come.