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China lifts some Covid restrictions on concerts

Artists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can travel to mainland China again from 16 February, but curbs for international acts remain

By James Hanley on 18 Jan 2023

Flag of the People's Republic of China, Ferris Wheel Ticketing

Mainland China is set to welcome back artists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – but restrictions remain on international acts will remain.

The Chinese ministry of culture and tourism says provincial departments can resume vetting and approving performance applications by entertainers from the regions from 16 February after the country lifted its “Zero-Covid” policy.

However, the South China Morning Post reports that the curbs will only be relaxed for foreign acts already on the mainland, with the ministry reminding departments to ensure effective pandemic control measures are implemented by event organisers.

Concerts have effectively been halted in China since the onset of Covid-19

Concerts have effectively been halted in China since the onset of Covid-19, with audiences required to abide by rules limiting interaction at the few performances permitted.

The ministry of culture and tourism previously implemented a centralised ticketing system for the country’s live performance sector in 2021.

All domestic ticketing systems for live performances — including music, dance, comedy, and plays — were linked to a national ticketing information management platform with unified standards for sales, distribution, and refunds.

The China Association of Performing Arts (CAPA), an industry body under the ministry that led the creation of the standards, said that their implementation would effectively curb scalpers as well as help monitor ticket sales and analyse the performance industry.

The platform was launched following criticism of some local and national vendors and event operators for setting aside tickets for “speculation and scalping”.

In an effort to curb such practices, the ministry of culture and tourism in 2017 introduced a new measure that required event operators to sell at least 70% of tickets for commercial performances directly to the public.


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