Everyone, we have some truly tragic news to report. Apparently, we will not be hearing “I Kissed a Girl” or “Swish Swish” performed at this month’s much-anticipated Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai.
That’s right. Yesterday, sources told Page Six that Katy Perry, who was scheduled to headline at the sparkly, lacy event, has been banned from China indefinitely.
As for why the bubbly American pop star is being denied a Chinese visa, sources pointed to her 2015 performance in Taipei, in which she donned a sunflower dress and waved around the Taiwanese flag. Many interpreted the singer’s wardrobe choice as a sign of solidarity with Taiwanese independence, bringing to mind the “Sunflower Movement,” the 24-day student-led occupation of the Taiwanese legislature in March 2014.
Afterward, China’s “Fruit Sister” was quickly dubbed Taiwan’s “Sunflower Goddess” by activists and many fans worried that Perry wouldn’t be allowed back on the mainland ever again.
“She was initially granted a visa to perform at the VS show in Shanghai, then Chinese officials changed their minds and yanked her visa,” a source told Page Six, going on to explain how Chinese officials painstakingly comb through social media and press reports about visiting artists to determine if they have ever before done anything to hurt China’s feelings.
In recent years, artists like Maroon 5, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Bjork have all reportedly been banned from China for their connections with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan independence movement.
Earlier this month, a letter circulated on Weibo which purportedly shows Perry promising to behave herself while in China. “I promise not to say or do anything religious or political. Meanwhile, I promise not to participate in any activities that jeopardize China’s unity and intergrity,” the note reads.
— China Digital Times (@CDT) November 7, 2017
Last year, Perry was scheduled to perform at Alibaba’s Singles’ Day gala in Shenzhen but canceled at the last moment due to a “family emergency.” While some fans instead attributed the superstar’s abrupt pullout to her shock at Donald Trump becoming president, it now seems likely that there were other forces at play.
While she hasn’t performed in China since her sunflower stunt. She did visit Shanghai Disneyland last year with boyfriend Orlando Bloom.
However, Perry won’t be the only one not attending this year’s Victoria’s Secret show. Yesterday, model Gigi Hadid took to Twitter to express her disappointment that she won’t be coming to Shanghai later this month.
I’m so bummed I won’t be able to make it to China this year. Love my VS family, and will be with all my girls in spirit!! Can't wait to tune in with everyone to see the beautiful show I know it will be, and already can't wait for next year! 🙂 x
— Gigi Hadid (@GiGiHadid) November 16, 2017
There is speculation that Hadid has been banned from China because of a controversy that erupted earlier this year over a video which shows her holding up a Buddha-shaped cookie and making “squinty eyes.” While Hadid eventually apologized for her offensive facial gesture, for many Chinese netizens the apology came too little, too late as they warned her not to come to China for the show.
In addition to Hadid, other models such as Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva, Dasha Khlystun, and Irina Sharipova have also reportedly been banned from entering China. Meanwhile, superstar model Adriana Lima’s visa is being held up due to an ongoing “diplomatic problem.”
All of this deals a hefty blow to Victoria’s Secret, which has been trying hard to bust out in the Middle Kingdom recently. In August, the company announced that it would be holding its annual fashion show in Shanghai, an honor previously only known to cities like New York, Paris, and London.
But the show must go on. Perry is reportedly being replaced by English singer Harry Styles who has apparently passed China’s strenuous background check. Earlier this year, it was announced that Justin Bieber had been banned from performing in China because of his “bad behavior.”