Beijing rock dies before it gets old with latest club closure

Tue May 3, 2016 11:17am EDT
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By Joseph Campbell

BEIJING (Reuters) - Mao Live House, a legendary live rock music venue in Beijing, shut its doors on the weekend, the latest closure to hit China's music scene.

Owner Li Chi said the club, popular among fans of punk, metal and alternative rock since it opened nine years ago, was forced to close due to tighter rules on live performances and rising rent.

"Originally nobody paid any attention to us because this market is small. Now the market has gotten big, so we're facing legal issues regarding the legitimatizing of commercial support," he told Reuters during the club's last public concert.

Singers in China have long had to contend with official restrictions, despite a thriving music scene. China's censors are notoriously sensitive not just to subversive political content, but also references to sex, drugs and religion.

China has tightened control over almost every aspect of civil society since 2012, citing the need to shore up national security and stability.

Mao Live House closed its doors to the public on Sunday but Li said he was looking for another location in Beijing.

Several other Beijing clubs have closed in recent weeks.

An owner of Dusk Dawn Club said on the messaging app WeChat that it had reopened on Monday after being forced to close on April 21.   Continued...

Visitors take pictures of themselves at Mao Live House during the club's last public concert night in central Beijing, China April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj