Dion’s Beijing concert cancelled

Diva still set for Shanghai debut on April 11

Canadian warbler Celine Dion has cancelled her Beijing concert after “failing to obtain a permit” amid rumors the authorities are punishing her promoters, who staged Bjork’s Shanghai show last month in which she called for Tibetan independence.

However, Dion’s concert in Shanghai — her first in China — is due to go ahead on April 11.

In a statement released through the Beijing Evening News, a spokesman for the singer said that the promoters, China-based Emma Ticketmaster, had not got approval for the April 13 concert despite selling more than 10,000 tickets for the show in the 64,000-seater Workers’ Stadium.

The singer’s web site on Wednesday said that attempts to find another venue, indoor rather than outdoor, had failed and offered refunds to those who had bought tickets.

It added that Dion will visit Beijing on April 12 to appear on her friend Yang Lan’s TV show. She is also due at a promotional event for the Olympic Games the same day.

Emma Ticketmaster had earlier said the show was canned due to concern that Beijing’s sandstorms could affect Dion’s recovery from a throat infection. Emma Ticketmaster could not be reached for comment.

Either way, this will disappoint Dion’s fans in the capital where “My Heart Will Go On,” her song from “Titanic,” still China’s most-watched film, is played everywhere like an unofficial national anthem.

Emma Ticketmaster was dragged over the coals last month after Icelandic singer Bjork chanted “Tibet! Tibet!” at the end of her song “Declare Independence” during a concert it promoted in Shanghai. Shortly after that, the violence broke out in Tibetan areas of China.

The outburst prompted China’s Culture Ministry to say it would tighten controls over foreign performers, although it later eased the rhetoric a little saying Bjork was an isolated case.

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