China: Concert with North Korean band cancelled

The North Korean pop group Moranbong Band was scheduled to perform in Beijing, China, on 12 December 2015 to cultivate ties between the two countries, but their concert was abruptly cancelled without explanation a few hours before they were to have entered the stage at the city’s National Centre.

A concert with the North Korean State Merited Chorus was also cancelled.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua released a terse, vague statement that said the Moranbong Band and the state choral group had not gone ahead with that evening’s concert due to “reasons regarding the communication of work-related issues.”

According to Korea Times, quoting “a lawmaker”, the band leader called off the concerts in protest of a request from China not to sing propaganda songs praising its young leader.

Citing information from the National Intelligence Service, Rep. Joo Ho-young of the ruling Saenuri Party said that members of Moranbong Band were also irked by ‘blasphemous’ remarks by a Chinese electrical lighting technician concerning the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “It still remains uncertain, for sure, why the performances were called off,” wrote Korea Times.

Some 2,000 officials from North Korea and China were set to attend the invitation-only concerts which would have been Moranbong Band’s first concert overseas and was one of three in the Chinese capital intended to improve relations between the nations.

Moranbong Band was allegedly formed by the country’s leader Kim Jong-un. Musicians in North Korea are only allowed to play music dictated and orchestrated by the regime.


» The Korea Times – 15 December 2015:
NK girl band cancelled concert due to censorship

» Reuters – 14 December 2015:
China still wants North Korea exchanges after cancelled concert

» Associated Press / The Guardian – 13 December 2015:
Kim band gone: North Korean leader’s girl group cancels Beijing gigs

» New York Times – 13 December 2015:
North Korean Band Abruptly Leaves China, Its Concerts Canceled

» Sino NK – 4 March 2014:
Rock Gospels: Analyzing the Artistic Style of Moranbong Band
by Pekka Korhonen

Photo above: from Moranbong Band’s video on