China refused to issue visas for Korean students, forcing Eastman to either remove them or cancel their tour. Eastman has shockingly chosen to go with the former.
Even more stunning, the students in the orchestra themselves voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with the tour by leaving their peers behind. Under such tremendous pressure from their fellow students and school administrators, the Korean students could never have voiced any objections that they may have had.
There have been countless times in history where musicians have been called to stand up for their colleagues in the face of discrimination. In the Civil Rights era white jazz musicians would refuse to tour when their black colleagues were unwelcome. In World War II, which musicians chose solidarity with their colleagues and which chose collaboration is forever linked to their legacy.
By bowing to Chinese demands and enabling them to dictate exclusion on the basis of nationality in their orchestra, the students and administrators of Eastman have shown a remarkable lack of character and have put a black mark on the reputation of classical music when we can ill afford it, as the corruption and misconduct at institutions such as the Cleveland Symphony and Metropolitan Opera is fresh in the public mind.
Taylor Swift is heading to China to perform at Alibaba Group’s annual Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza next month.
The pop star will perform at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena on the evening of Nov. 10, along with a lineup of prominent stars and personalities from China and other parts of Asia. Among the acts slated to shill online shopping for Alibaba are Chinese singer-songwriter and actress G.E.M., local pop star Hua Chenyu, Japanese singer Kana Hanazawa and over a dozen others.
More than a few U.S. sports and entertainment figures — including Scarlett Johansson, David Beckham, Mariah Carey and Daniel Craig — have flocked to the Alibaba-produced spectacle in years past to build their brands among Chinese consumers. But in recent months, U.S. celebrities’ eagerness to please the Chinese government and the country’s enormous consumer base have begun to be viewed with more skepticism by the U.S. public.