In what could be the start of a Bad Romance between China and Lady Gaga, the singer has been added to the country’s ‘banned celebrity list’ following her meeting with the Dalai Lama. China’s Communist party issued instructions to prevent her from performing in the country besides ordering the media to stop uploading and streaming her music.
According to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) issued the notice to television channels, radio stations, and music download websites on 27 June, after the Born This Way hitmaker met with the Dalai Lama at the United States Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis, Indiana.
A 19-minute video of the conversation was uploaded on Facebook as well and received severe criticism from both fans and officials in China who called the spiritual leader a “wolf in monk’s robes” and compared him to Osama Bin Laden.
“The way the Chinese feel is just like you were shaking hands with [Osama] bin Laden,” one critic commented on a photo Gaga uploaded on Instagram.
Another said: “This is proof that she can love and respect a Chinese terrorist. She fundamentally looks down on Chinese fans, and even all Chinese people.”
“Maybe in your mind he is a fighter for freedom, while in Chinese people’s mind, Dalai is a person who is just like a terrorist,” one other user wrote on the social media platform.
When first asked for a comment on the meeting, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei indicated that he didn’t know who Lady Gaga was. He did, however, criticise the Dalai Lama’s efforts in the West.
“The purpose of his visits and activities in other countries is just to promote his proposal for Tibetan independence,” Lei reportedly told AP. “We hope that people from the international community can be fully aware of his true colors and nature.”
The pop star met the Buddhist leader on 26 June during which time they discussed “the power of kindness and how to make the world a more compassionate place”.
“Thank you for this special day. Science tells us kindness improves health, let’s take care of the body of our nation,” Lady Gaga tweeted.
Gaga is not the first artist to make it to China’s ‘banned list’ because of her association with the Dalai Lama. Maroon 5, Bjork, Bon Jovi and Oasis were also prohibited from performing in the country and Selena Gomez was recently forced to cancel her August concert after sharing comments about the leader on her social media account.
“Lady Gaga knew how Beijing would react,” Bill Bishop, who runs the Sinocism newsletter, tweeted. “Good for her to show some courage, unlike most celebrities who are scared of bullying Beijing now.”
President Barack Obama also had earlier been criticized for meeting the religious head and Beijing warned that it would seriously jeopardize US-China relations.