Children Banned from Concert in Beijing

I've just returned with my husband and 4 1/2 year old daughter from a Yo Yo Ma concert in Beijing. We moved here from the States two months ago and when we heard Yo Yo Ma was going to be here we happily jumped at the opportunity to pay nearly $600 US dollars to attend his concert. We had 3rd row seats because we figured it would only be worth it if my daughter could really see up close. I wish I could say it was wonderful. In fact what I really wish is that I could say that just as I had hoped it inspired my daughter to become a lifetime lover of music. Unfortunately, instead all my daughter learned is that music is only for adults to enjoy. Why? Because, the security guard at the gate wouldn't let any children under 1.2 meters in height enter the auditorium. My daughter stood on her tiptoes when measured, but they were not amused. Huge tears rolled down her big brown eyes, and again, no one budged. When we asked the ticket office why they didn't tell us this when they sold us the tickets they said it was our duty to think to ask. They would not entertain a refund either. In fact, the guard informed me that other countries would never allow children in either. I informed him that my daughter had been attending concerts and broadway shows in the States since she was 2 years old. I challenged them to let her in and escort her out if she made a peep. The thought even crossed my mind to enter myself and see if I could find a way to tell Mr. Ma myself that 3 heartbroken young children were sitting outside in tears while he played. I felt certain that if he knew he would care. My spirited American side put up the best fight I could in rusty Mandarin, but my defeated Chinese husband stood by the sidelines and muttered that this was China and there was nothing you could do about it. I actually considered just ignoring them, grabbing my daughter and forging ahead through the security gate. Meanwhile those without tickets saw this as an opportunity and leaped upon us begging us to give our tickets to them. One kind foreigner actually approached us and offered to watch our child so we could still enjoy the concert. I kindly refused. That would defeat the whole purpose. We had come to teach our daughter that music is beautiful and can be enjoyed by anyone. If we wanted to enjoy a night out by ourselves we could have left her with our 8 month old son and our nanny. I am sad that some of the very principles Mr. Ma has attempted to teach were defeated this very evening. Before we left I knelt down at my daughter's level and whispered to her that one day when she becomes famous and performs in China, to promise me she'll let children attend.

Comments (4)

By sierraP | 12/22/09 - 03:12AM

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I really felt pity to your daughter. I can't think of any reason why children shouldn't enter the auditorium. It's kind'a unfair right? In fact, the concert is for all so no matter if your adult or child as long as you bought a ticket then the guard must let you in. Anyways, who among you here are dreaming of starting your own company and being a CEO in a huge building hundreds of feet away from anyone else? I guess many dream to be like that, but in reality is you'll have to start small. In fact, most of the most successful entrepreneur captains of industry all were starting a small business and struggling at some point. All of them – Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, even Bill Gates. Most businesses fail the first time out or two, and every small business owner gets sent running for a cash advance at some point – but persistence and common sense eventually are rewarded.

By Fredd | 12/14/09 - 02:12AM

It is a pity and just hypocracy of those people who control China. Music is so refreshing and life. But these people just do not seem to understand. This makes me think that being in a country where there is no democracy and freedom... does it really help in growing as a person? I mean, just look at the limitations that we have in such societies. It was really sad know that your daughter was not allowed in the concert.

women clothes

By wooly | 11/22/09 - 06:11AM

While I sympathise with you on not benefitting from the US$600. And as a parent who always encourages our 14 year-old to attend classical concert, there's a lot to be said on limiting children's attendance in such concerts. I have also attended the Yo Yo Ma concert in Hong Kong on Nov. 20th after he played in Beijing and Shanghai. My husband was siiting next to a family with a 8 year-old boy who fell asleep 5 minutes into the concert. The boy not only kicked my husband a number of times but being a heavy sleeper with a blocked nose he was providing a FANTASTIC sonorous backup to accompany the proceeding during the whole first half of the concert . We were sitting in the 4th row from the stage and the Concert Hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre is a very small venue. I am not sure if Yo Yo Ma heard the unwanted back-up but all the audience of our section did. Do you think this is fair to the artists as well as the other paying audience? While there were many children at the concert that night, one would not see such scenes in many classical concerts in European cities, as there is an age limit to such events. I think children's attendance in classical concerts should be encouraged but they should be at children specific event.

By zheny | 11/18/09 - 01:11AM

Quite sad...