Has Lady Gaga become the latest Western celebrity to upset Beijing?
The American singer has angered her legions of Chinese fans after meeting with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader.
Thousands of Chinese Internet users flooded Lady Gaga’s Instagram account with angry comments after she posted photos of the meeting. Others voiced their outrage on Chinese social media.
“It’s all over for Lady Gaga, a nation trumps an idol,” went one widely shared comment on Weibo – China’s equivalent of Twitter.
Another Weibo user said: “I used to like Lady Gaga so much, but not a fan anymore!”
The pop star and the Dalai Lama appeared together at a conference in the U.S. on Sunday to talk about the benefits of compassion.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei declined to comment on reports that Beijing had placed a ban on her music, which is hugely popular in China.
But he noted the strong public reaction to the news online and said the international community is “well aware of what kind of person the Dalai Lama truly is.”
Forced into exile after a failed uprising against Beijing’s rule in 1959, the Dalai Lama – a Nobel peace laureate – is despised by China’s Communist leadership as a separatist who is trying to split Tibet from China.
So far, Lady Gaga’s hit music and videos can still be accessed online in China but if she does end up on a blacklist, she’ll be in good company.
As China fast becomes a big market for Western artists, more and more of them are learning they may have to toe the Communist Party line to maintain their presence and popularity here.
For Lady Gaga and throngs of her Chinese fans, tricky international politics means they are suddenly caught in a bad romance.