Jon Bon Jovi on stage performingReuters

Bon Jovi's first ever concerts in China have been cancelled by the government, news reports say. No official reason has been given.

The two concerts, due to take place in Shanghai and Beijing next week, are believed to have been pulled, after censors realised that the rock band had used an image of the Dalai Lama as a backdrop at a gig five years ago, media reports say.

The ticketing website Damai.cn has said on its official Weibo account that it had stopped selling tickets for the two gigs.

The Guardian said the two concerts were promoted by band members, with Jon Bon Jovi singing in Mandarin in August a popular love song as a "special gift to Chinese fans."

The Financial Times said that concert organisers were "desperately trying" to convince government officials to allow the Bon Jovi concerts to proceed but the chances of this happening are slim, people familiar with the matter say.

An AEG representative, the promoter of the Bon Jovi concerts in China said it was unable to comment as it was waiting for more information, the FT says.

This is not the first time China has banned artistes for their political support. Iceland's singer Bjork was barred from the country in 2011 after she chanted "Tibet, Tibet" during her song Declare Independence at a concern in Shanghai in 2008.

American rock band Linkin Park was barred in 2011 after they attended a youth media conference in Los Angeles and were photographed with the Dalai Lama, the BBC reports.

Another US band, Maroon 5 were forced to scrap their concerts in Beijing and Shanghai this month after a similar ban was impose. Again, no official explanation was given but a tweet by keyboardist Jesse Carmichael wishing the Dalai Lama a happy birthday was believed to be the reason.