Maroon 5 was set for a short tour in China this September but "Sugar" may have been too sweet for the authorities, who have reportedly prevented the band from playing its scheduled Beijing and Shanghai shows. The story, as suggested by CNN and other media sources, is that a tweet from keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Jesse Carmichael addressing the Dalai Lama may be to blame.
"Happy Birthday (and the Dalai Lama too)," he tweeted on July 4. "Sang happy birthday to his holiness today."
That sounds innocent enough but amounts to disrespect on the highest level for China. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th iteration of the holy position. The current issues with China can be traced back the the 13th, who declared the kingdom of Tibet to be independent during 1912, expelling Chinese civilians in the process. The larger country didn't take well to this and strove through military means to keep the territory under its control. A 1950 treaty ensured China's possession of Tibet, and the current Dalai Lama would flee to India, fearing for his life. Essentially, China has treated the Buddhist leader as an enemy, and the fascination of Western citizens—such as the annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert—hasn't helped.
Maroon 5 is hardly the first band to find its tour plans changed as the result of some overly positivity aimed at the Dalai Lama. Linkin Park, Björk and Oasis have all been prevented from entering China as a result of public displays of support.
We should clarify that none of this has been confirmed by Chinese authorities, of course. One report—suggesting an uncomfortably close relationship between the government and journalists in the world's most populous nation—printed in Time Out Beijing reads "we hear musings about Maroon 5 being prevented from performing by our political friends up above."