Asia: BTS Suspends World Tour, China Slowly Reopens Venues

at MetLife Stadium MetLife Stadium in New Jersey May 18.

BTS Suspends World Tour
K-pop’s biggest international act, BTS, has finally announced that it is suspending its upcoming world tour, which was to include almost every territory on the planet, including North America and Europe. 
The group’s management company, Big Hit Entertainment, had already postponed many dates on the tour as the coronavirus crisis developed, but on April 28 the company said that they were just going to call off the whole thing and start over once the future becomes clearer. 
“Due to the nature of BTS concerts involving travel by thousands of international fans no matter where the performances are held,” said the statement, “it is also difficult to resume the tour with the current restrictions on cross-border movement still in place. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to suspend the previously announced tour schedule and develop a new schedule.”

Clubs Begin To Reopen As China Recovers From Coronavirus
China, the country where the coronavirus emerged late last year, has slowly emerged from lockdown and recently started allowing some nightlife venues to resume business. 
According to the website, the green light was first given at the end of March, though only in a very limited capacity. The site mentions a handful of well-known clubs in several large regional capitals that have staged events, but attendance “as expected” has been relatively low and most people tend to leave early. 
These businesses still have to follow mandatory safety regulations. Patrons need to have their body temperatures checked and “health code status” verified. Dance floors must be disinfected often. Some patrons have been denied admission to venues based on their recent travel histories. Since all international travelers are still denied entry to China, foreign artists have yet to return, which, in a sense, is beneficial to local artists for the time being. 
One of those artists is Kristen Ng, who makes music as Kaishandao in the southwest city of Chengdu. She described her first gig coming out of lockdown to residentadvisor as “Incredibly moving and surreal, not only to see friends again after so long, but to hear music on a soundsystem and dance together. Emotions were high.”
The post goes on to say that several provinces have lifted quarantine during the month of April but describes the reopening of nightlife as being extremely cautious. Two club owners in Shenzhen said they are open on a limited basis and that they still “can’t pay our crew their entire salary, but they understand.” Another club told residentadvisor that about 15 percent of its regular patrons are still hesitant to go out at night, but they can get by without that portion. 
Some clubs in Chengdu say they have been asked by the authorities to remain closed due to their “location or capacity,” according to Ng. And concert venues are still not allowed to open just yet, so bands are still in limbo.
Taiwan Suspends Concerts 
Though Taiwan has mostly avoided the draconian lockdown rules its neighbors have had to endure thanks to early action and careful coordination, many services, including concerts and nightlife, have been suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 
According to CNA English News many established music groups have taken their performances online, including the Taipei Philharmonic Chorus, which launched a series of biweekly online concerts on April 24 with a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Lobgesang.” 
The Taipei Foundation for Culture and Education said the group will share concerts recorded over the past twenty years online. All the chorus’s public performances through June have been cancelled. 
The Trend Education Foundation of Taiwan is also presenting a series of ten online concerts on YouTube featuring traditional Chinese music groups, and the Kaohshiung Spring Arts Festival on April 25 streamed a live performance by the Kaohshiung Symphony Orchestra of Beethoven’s Third Symphony from a concert hall. 
The festival has five other live concerts planned for the near future. The April 25 presentation attracted 16,000 viewers. All concerts will remain online for three months. 
Chinese Music Video Irks Filipinos 
The Straits Times of Singapore reports that a music video produced by the Chinese embassy in Manila, meant to highlight China’s aid to the Philippines in fighting the coronavirus epidemic, has backfired in a big way. 
Featuring an upbeat pop song with lyrics written by Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, the four-minute video shows China donating test kits and protective medical gear to Filipino health workers, as well as footage of a recent medical mission to the Philippines by a group of Chinese epidemiologists. Local nurses, delivery personnel and security staff were honored in the video, as well, which finished with words of thanks from the 
Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte. 
However, the song’s title, “One Sea,” apparently stuck in the craw of many Filipinos, who saw it as a declaration of China’s claim over seas that the archipelago considers part of its territory. 
For years now, the two countries have sparred over waters that China says is traditionally theirs and which many in the Philippines call the West Philippine Sea. A number of islands are situated in these waters. The day after the video was uploaded onto the YouTube channel of Chinatown TV, it had attracted more than 100,000 dislikes and only 1,000 likes. One commenter wrote “China is that friend who pretends to offer a handshake with his right hand but steals from you with his left.” One popular Philippine singer who participated in the making of the video was lambasted online, with some calling her a traitor. 
In a sense, the video may have been a victim of bad timing. Days earlier the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against China’s creation of two districts to administer islands in the South China Sea that Filipinos have said belong to them. Other countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, also have competing claims in the area. 
COVID-19 Reshapes Japanese Concert Schedule
Though almost all Japan summer tours and concerts by foreign artists have been cancelled, the organizers of the Fuji Rock Festival, slated for the end of August, are still selling tickets. 
Creativeman Productions, which presents the Summer Sonic festival every year, will be holding a different international festival called Super Sonic in September. 
Most postponed tours of foreign artists that have been rescheduled will now take place in early 2021. 
However, a few acts recently announced dates in the fall. Billie Eilish, whose sole Japan concert is slated for Sept. 3 has not announced any changes. The surfer-themed Greenroom Festival, originally scheduled for May, has been pushed to Sept. 5-6 in Yokohama. Among the foreign acts who say they will play are Jose James, !!! and Oscar Jerome. Ruel, who rescheduled spring shows to September, has now cancelled his Asia tour completely. 
Dream Theater has rescheduled its May tour for October, covering five Japanese cities. Stormzy has also rescheduled his Tokyo show for Nov. 5.