Taiwanese Fans Reportedly Sabotaged Bon Jovi’s China Gigs

Bon Jovi‘s dream of someday performing in China was dashed when a series of September concerts in Beijing and Shanghai were mysteriously canceled – but were fellow Bon Jovi fans behind it? 

Photo: Paul A. Hebert
Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.

Though no overt reason was given, it was roundly believed that government officials in charge of such things reacted after being alerted to the fact Bon Jovi had performed in Taiwan in front of an image of the Dalai Lama, who is despised by the Chinese authorities who believe he advocates for Tibetan independence.

On Sept. 27, the BBC ran a story by its Taiwan correspondent claiming its sources said Taiwanese fans of the band were the ones who alerted China to the Dalai Lama image.

Writer Cindy Sui says it was apparently “part of a concerted campaign aimed at getting Bon Jovi’s China tour scuttled so that he could play more shows in Taiwan.” In fact, that is exactly what happened. After the mainland shows were pulled, the band quickly supplemented its one Taipei date with a second.

The article adds that Bon Jovi’s fans came up with the idea after Maroon 5’s shows were canceled for pretty much the same reason, though in that band’s case it was because a member tweeted “Happy Birthday” to the Dalai Lama.

The organizer of the canceled Maroon 5 shows added a Taipei date “to recoup losses.” Bon Jovi’s Taipei gig had sold out in a manner of minutes, and fans without tickets were desperate for him to add another show. Sui spoke to the head of the Taiwan Bon Jovi fan club, who told her, “I had heard of the news that Maroon 5’s concerts in China had been cancelled, then I told everyone that [getting China concerts cancelled] could be a way for us to add a Bon Jovi concert here.”

He did not elaborate on the tactics used, but Sui implied that some fans directly contacted the Chinese government with “pictures of Bon Jovi’s past concerts.” There also may have been a touch of jealousy and regret in the move. Some Taiwanese fans were said to have been resentful of the fact that Jon Bon Jovi had made such a big effort to woo mainland music lovers before the doomed concerts, going so far as to learn a well-known Chinese pop song in Mandarin without realizing that the song in question was originally sung by a Taiwanese artist.

More to the point, Bon Jovi hasn’t played Taiwan in 20 years, though the band has come to Asia during that period numerous times. To add an even more tragic twist to this twisted love story, both of Bon Jovi’s Taipei shows had to be canceled due to the arrival of killer Typhoon Dujuan, the most powerful of the season. City officials instructed the cancellation of all work and school sessions as a precaution against the massive storm, which ended up killing three people. Some might call it karma, but in any case, Bon Jovi and their Taiwanese fans just couldn’t catch a break.

Jon Bon Jovi posted a video on his Facebook page saying he and the band were “heartbroken” over the way things had turned out and said he would try to make it up by coming again next year. Local media reported that promoter Live Nation Taiwan lost about NT$30 million ($907,000) because of the cancellation.