Visa Probs Go Both Ways

Given recent reports of Western artists having a tough time gaining permission to perform in China, it’s easy to overlook that it’s also difficult for Chinese artists to perform overseas.

Last year, the all-female punk band Hang On The Box was prevented from touring the U.K. after China’s Ministry of Culture deemed their music “an inappropriate representation of Chinese culture” and refused to issue travel visas.

Veteran Chinese punk band SMZB managed to make it out of the country recently for a U.S. tour but was turned back by American immigration authorities, according to City Weekend, an English-language magazine published in Shanghai.

SMZB was invited to play at the Shamrock Festival in Washington D.C., which took place several weeks ago.

The band was also to embark on a string of East Coast club dates.

However, upon arriving in Detroit, U.S. immigration questioned the band for three hours before putting them on a plane back to China (via Japan).

The problem was that the members had tourist visas and lacked the proper business documents.

Because the officials considered the tour a “money-making venture,” they would not let the band in. City Weekly implied that SMZB was not expecting to make any money from the tour, but that apparently didn’t matter.