China Fest Canceled

The ninth Midi Music Festival, which was scheduled to take place in Beijing May 1-4, was postponed in late April by order of China’s Public Security Bureau

It isn’t the only recent event with an international flavor that has been canned by Chinese authorities. A carnival to celebrate European Union ties to China was called off after organizers failed to secure a permit, and a Beijing street festival that tends to be patronized by expatriates was postponed until sometime after the Olympic games this summer.

"The overall interests of the Olympic games must be safeguarded by everyone, so if the relevant authorities demand it we are most likely to put the overall situation first," said Midi Festival organizer Zhang Fan, according to the Guardian.

The postponement is in line with greater restrictions of foreign visitors before the Olympics. People can no longer apply for visas in Hong Kong, business travelers are running into more complicated red tape and expatriate residents are being subjected to increased security checks.

A number of local publications and Web sites have also speculated that Bjork’s recent outburst at a Beijing concert in support of Tibetan independence may have soured authorities on the idea of more foreign musicians coming to China before the Olympics. Apparently, they have temporarily stopped granting permits for concerts by foreign artists.

Authorities have told the Midi organizers they can hold their festival in October. However, that month the Modern Sky Festival is also slated to be held in Beijing’s Haidan Park, the same venue that usually hosts Midi.

The organizers of the two events are discussing possible resolutions.