Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One Country, Two Rock Scenes

Among rockers, there's plenty of interest in cross-strait touring, but it seldom happens, especially crossing the strait from from west to east. Big Taiwanese rock festivals Formoz and Hohaiyan have invited Chinese bands in recent years - major ones in fact, specifically Tang Dynasty, Thin Man and even Cui Jian - but Taiwanese promoters say that permission was never granted by Chinese authorities and things always fell through. (There is of course the Pangu exception, but...) So I recently emailed a foreign national (i.e. non-Chinese) musician living in Beijing about the possibility of his band coming to Taiwan, and here's what he had to say:

[a certain Chinese band member] has a beijing hukou [= "residency", approximately]. which means he can go to hong kong very easily. we go there about twice a month
for business reasons.

once you are in hong kong, all you need is an invite
from the taiwan side, and he can get an entry permit
from the taiwan rep office in hk. then we stroll into
the CKS airport. easy.

but you do need a passport to get into taiwan. and
many chinese bands dont have passports. its unlikely
if they walk into the passport office in beijing and
tell them they want to go to taiwan they will get
anywhere. but if you have a band that has been
overseas before AND has a beijing or shanghai or
guangdong hukou they can use this route. Thailand is
another option as well for those not allowed to travel
to hong kong. but again, you need a passport. which is
actually not that hard to get, but many bands are not
good at negotiating this kind of bureaucracy, so if
someone doesnt do it for them, they think its

i know a number of people who have used this route for
various reasons. granted if you are a hugely famous
band like tang dynasty or whatever, it would cause
more of a fuss in the mainland and probably be a bit
more difficult. but for a small unknown band like us
it would be no problem. just a matter of finding the
right venue, etc.

All told, it seems like flying under the radar is still the way to go, and permission from Taiwan to enter is still easier than permission from Beijing to leave. Oh, great. But at least it's possible for this particular band...


Post a Comment

<< Home