UPDATE: Despite Oasis' claims that the band's shows were canceled for political reasons (i.e., supporting a free Tibet), the promoter now tells Reuters that the shows were scuttled because of the "tough economic situation."
"I have no money. It's normal in an environment of economic crisis," said the man identified only by his surname, Luo. "It has nothing to do at all with the Tibet problem."
"According to the organizer, the performance was canceled because of some economic problems the organizer had," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "The Chinese authorities responsible for this, the cultural departments, have already required the organizers to provide more detailed information."
Oasis' gigs in China have gone from definitely maybe to definitely not.
The Chinese government unexpectedly scrapped two concerts the British rockers were scheduled to play—April 3 in Beijing and April 5 in Shanghai—after deeming the shows "unsuitable," according to the band.
At issue, Oasis claims, is that Chinese officials were unhappy upon learning the "Wonderwall" band's mastermind, Noel Gallagher, had once played a five-song set at a 1997 Free Tibet benefit in the U.S.
In a statement issued today after learning of the forced cancellation, Oasis said it was "bewildered" by officials' sudden change of heart.
"Representatives from the Chinese government have revoked the performance licenses already issued for the band and ordered their shows in both Beijing and Shanghai to be immediately canceled," said the band. "The Chinese authorities' action in canceling these shows marks a reversal of their decision regarding the band which has left both Oasis and the promoters bewildered."
Oasis claimed that officials deemed "the band...unsuitable to perform to their fans in the Chinese Republic" and implored authorities to reconsider their decision.
China tightened regulations on foreign performers after Björk chanted "Tibet! Tibet!" at a Shanghai concert last year, rankling officials who called her outburst an affront to national unity. Before that, acts such as the Rolling Stones and Elton John had to submit set lists and lyrics for approval by the Chinese Cultural Ministry.
(China has refused to allow the Tibet people any autonomy since invading the Himalayan territory in 1950.)
Oasis, which is touring in support of its latest album, Dig Out Your Soul, will still go ahead with a Hong Kong date set for April 7.