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Beijing Puts Damper On Public Events

BEIJING (CelebrityAccess) – Authorities in Beijing have begun canceling festivals and large public gatherings, sparking fears that the authorities are cracking down on public events that are deemed politically risky.

According to the Associated Press, the wave of cancellations have had a significant impact on the city's music scene, with long-running events like the Strawberry Music Festival going dark.

Lucia Wang, of Great Leap Brewery, which pre-emptively canceled their annual beer festival over fear of a last minute shutdown told the Associated Press that authorities cited concerns about large crowds. Other event organizers reported that no reason was given. Beijing police did not respond to a request for comment.

"My pocket view is that as far as the powers that be are concerned, society is a little out of control, with too much expression and frivolity and general chaos," festival promoter Archie Hamilton told the Associated Press. "And I feel that (President) Xi Jinping and the new administration have come in and gone, 'We need to focus on this a lot. We need to get this right and make sure this doesn't get too out of control.'"

"This put the fear into all of us," Hamilton added. "Everyone's afraid of getting it wrong and losing a lot of money. … It's that harmless stuff, of people getting together and sharing and being creative, which is what China is about, but it's not really happening." – Staff Writers