Pop Music Is Okay, but No Politics: Communist China Bans Katy Perry for Expressing her Opinions—With a Dress

November 18, 2017 Last Updated: November 19, 2017

Pop singer Katy Perry was scheduled to perform at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai, China, but the Chinese regime changed its mind and denied her a visa.

Now Victoria’s Secret staff who are in China trying to run the beleaguered show are complaining that their communications are being spied on by the host nation.

“They want to discuss what’s going on as far as replacements for those denied visas and alternative arrangements, but they have to be tight-lipped because it seems that the government is watching their e-mails,” a source told Page Six.

Perry was supposed to sing at the Victoria’s Secret event scheduled for Nov. 20—so neither Perry nor Victoria’s Secret got much warning.

The world-famous performer had initially been told she was welcome, but after reviewing social media, government censors found a photo of the American singer wearing a dress festooned with sunflowers while performing in Taipei, Taiwan in 2015.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is very sensitive about anyone questioning its right to rule the country it seized in a revolution almost 70 years ago. Certain anti-CCP groups have adopted the sunflower as a symbol of their desire to return freedom to China.

The dress alone might have gotten the singer’s visa revoked—but she went further. During her performance, she wrapped herself the flag of the Republic of China—the legitimate government at the time of the revolution, which the Communist Party drove out of China.

A local resident reads a newspaper showing singer Katy Perry wearing the Republic of China flag while performing in Taipei. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)
A local resident reads a newspaper showing singer Katy Perry wearing the Republic of China flag while performing in Taipei. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

While her gestures might have endeared her to her Taiwanese fans, it was deemed unacceptable by CCP censors.

“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.

“For every artist who wants to perform in China, officials comb through their social-media and press reports to see if they have done anything deemed to be offensive to the country.”

Victoria’s Secret was able to book another artist, Harry Styles from One Direction, to fill in for Perry.

Models, Media Also Rejected

Perry is not the only performer to run afoul of CCP censors while on the way to the Shanghai show.

Models Gigi Hadid, Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva, and Irina Sharipova have all been banned from entering the country. In Hadid’s case, CCP censors objected to a video she had posted on Instagram. The others have apparently made “political” comments or social media posts.

Supermodel Adriana Lima is still waiting to see if her visa will be approved—the Chinese regime cites “diplomatic problems.”

Page Six also reported that the Chinese regime has denied visas to fashion bloggers, and TV producers were told they can’t shoot footage outside of the venue itself unless they obtain a special permit.

The incident highlights the plight of international performers who are used to a culture of freedom, but who want to work in places where “freedom” is not an acceptable topic for discussion.

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