China blocks Lady Gaga, Bjork and Bon Jovi and blacklists Canadian star Justin Bieber after it has launched a campaign to cleanse the entertainment sector of content it deems inappropriate and unhealthy.

President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Neil Portnow (C) and CEO of Bravo Entertainment Steven Fock sign a record during a ceremony in Beijing marking the start of a partnership to create the Grammy Festival China, August 3, 2017.
President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Neil Portnow (C) and CEO of Bravo Entertainment Steven Fock sign a record during a ceremony in Beijing marking the start of a partnership to create the Grammy Festival China, August 3, 2017.

The Grammys is looking to break into China, but it will have to do so without the help of some of its top stars after it pledged to bring only well-behaved artists to meet Chinese censors' demands.

China has launched a campaign to cleanse the entertainment sector of content it deems inappropriate and unhealthy, a vague term the authorities frequently use to justify censorship of politically sensitive topics.

The Recording Academy, which runs The Grammys, pledged on Thursday in Beijing to respect China's media curbs as it plans to launch a tour in China in 2018 featuring its award-winning artists, or nominees, performing live shows.

"If there are restrictions and things in that nature, we have to be respectful," Neil Portnow, president and chief executive of The Recording Academy, told Reuters in Beijing.

Lady Gaga, plus Bjork and Bon Jovi, are blocked in China after they met or expressed support for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

China recently blacklisted Canadian star Bieber, citing bad behaviour.

Portnow said he hoped curbs on some artists would be lifted eventually, and vowed to push China to clamp down on piracy after making progress in intellectual property protection.

Huge consumption

China's huge consumer base is a magnet for Hollywood studios to theme park operators, but entry in the market comes with strings attached.

The country has long censored imported film and music and is now clamping down hard on audio-visual content online.

"We will promote artists with a positive and healthy image," said Steven Fock, chief executive of music events organiser Bravo Entertainment, one of The Recording Academy's partners for the live show tour along with China Music Vision.

At a time of slowing domestic growth, Chinese audiences have become increasingly important to the US entertainment industry.

A live stream in China last year of the Grammy Awards drew nearly 11 million viewers.

In contrast, Grammy viewership dipped slightly for the latest show in February, from nearly 25 million last year in the US.

In January, The Recording Academy said it would build its first overseas Grammy Museum in China.

Lady Gaga has six Grammy Award wins.

Bieber, a Grammy winner nominated seven times, apologised to fans on Thursday after he abruptly cancelled the rest of his world tour and accidentally hit a photographer with his truck.

Source: Reuters