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Chinese Democracy

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James Reynolds | 10:50 UK time, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

If the Chinese Communist Party is looking for a house band to play at one of its next study sessions, Guns N' Roses latest album probably won't be on the list. Chinese Democracy, you can be sure, will not be uploaded onto official Politburo iPods.

Axl Rose in 1992One newspaper editorial here says that the album venomously attacks China. When we mentioned the new album in a Chinese internet forum, the administrator quickly deleted the reference. The record hasn't been released in China - unofficially we've been told this is because the material is too sensitive. The album's official website Chinesedemocracy.com has also been blocked.

The Chinese government prefers a different kind of music. Before its press conferences, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing plays generically unthreatening acoustic guitar music over its loudspeakers. I asked the spokesman, Qin Gang, what he made of the new Guns N' Roses album.

"According to my knowledge, a lot of people don't like this kind of music - because it's too noisy, and too loud. James, I think you are a mature adult, aren't you?" he said (with what seemed to be a definite half-smile).

But if you look around a bit, you can find something even louder and more provocative than Guns N' Roses.

Ordnance band performingIn a small bar on the Pacific coast, a Chinese heavy metal band called Ordnance perform their new album. The four band members perform with their backs to the audience of 40 or 50 people. Their songs go just as far - if not much further - than Guns N' Roses. The band attacks the Chinese police for not defending ordinary people, they criticise corruption and oppression in their own country.

"Take pride in freedom of speech," the band sings, "take pride in guaranteeing human rights, Take one party dictatorship as a disgrace."

This small band singing in a small bar can get away with saying things that would never be allowed anywhere else in this country. I wonder what they think of the American band thousands of miles away also singing about China.

"Guns N' Roses are in the US - they have never lived in China," says Ying Peng, the band's lead singer, "They don't really know what China is really like. They try to understand it in their way, but it's one-sided. I may like the music, the melody. But for lyrics, everyone thinks differently, and stands on a different side. It's a different place, different culture."

"If they came to China to tour, what would you say to them?" I ask.

"Though we're not on the same level band, we have the same spirit," says the guitarist Liu Li Xin, "The rebellious spirit is the same. We try to discover problems in societies. We respect Guns N' Roses, because they took notice of China's democracy. For that, they deserve our respect. But we do have the same attitude and spirit, hoping to make China better."

In the end which band will have the greater impact on China? The Americans performing in stadiums outside China? Or the four men in their own country yelling out their own concerns to their own people?

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:23am on 25 Nov 2008, funnyanotherblogger wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 11:33am on 25 Nov 2008, Steve wrote:

    I was on the BBC's 606 sports website recently when all the hoo-har about Max Mosely was in the news. Any mention of the name was quickly deleted and the thread removed. The motivation may be different, but the effect is frighteningly similar. Maybe China and White City aren't so far apart...

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  • 3. At 11:44am on 25 Nov 2008, Richard wrote:

    Good luck to Ordnance.

    As for that other group, they are of no importance. By banning their weedy brand of corporate rawk, The Chinese government is quite possibly doing the best thing for its people in some time.

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  • 4. At 11:47am on 25 Nov 2008, topbear1974 wrote:

    This Ordnance is the living proof that china HAS freedom of speech. So western reporters stop bugging us on this any more.

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  • 5. At 11:51am on 25 Nov 2008, endyjai wrote:

    Mmm See how many Chinese outside of China care about Guns N' Roses' new album.

    I don't expect a rock band to understand the complexities of democracy, even though his own country is a Republic and not even a democracy - though more democratic than China.

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  • 6. At 11:55am on 25 Nov 2008, beijing_2008 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 11:59am on 25 Nov 2008, beijing_2008 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 12:06pm on 25 Nov 2008, sinodeplant wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 9. At 12:31pm on 25 Nov 2008, Dougall wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 10. At 12:42pm on 25 Nov 2008, Walsh of Wembley wrote:

    Yes, most Chinese websites usually delete posts when they know it's a foreigner. It seems unfair that the Chinese can post on our sites, but that's the price for us having freedom of speech I guess.

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  • 11. At 12:55pm on 25 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 1:04pm on 25 Nov 2008, Ernie wrote:

    Anyone labouring under the misapprehension that Guns N Roses are still relevant needs to get out more.

    They may have been the biggest band in the world back in 1990, but now their basically just the frontman and few guys he's hired.

    If the chinese have banned it for being contentious then I can't say they're missing out on much, though it is yet another example of the lack of freedom of speech in China.

    Not a regime I'd like to live under, however the Chinese seem to have cultivated an obscure breed of nationalism which makes them unlikely to try to upset the state any time soon.

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  • 13. At 1:19pm on 25 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    It actually surprised me that James didn't put an article about this album days ago, when it was officially released.

    GNR is simply a group of rockers who are trying very hard to attract some attention with their so called pride, or we might say, their arrogance and ignorance.

    I liked their music when I was in my teen. I did.

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  • 14. At 1:38pm on 25 Nov 2008, RobL777 wrote:

    Kudos to James Reynold's blog entry on how the Guns 'N Roses album "Chinese Democracy" is being received in China. It is remarkably hip, given Mr. Reynold's buttoned-down appearance (grin). The Chinese heavy metal band 'Ordnance' has a surprisingly sophisticated and multi-cultural view about Guns 'N Roses new album. They probably are online a lot, reading various articles, blogs and chats about the rest of the world and its doings.

    But China's track record for state control of most forms of media almost guarantees that whether one lives in China, or is outside it, any dissenting opinions will be forcibly suppressed when they appear to threaten the ruling elite's power and authority. This can't help but stunt China's growth as a thriving world power.

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  • 15. At 1:39pm on 25 Nov 2008, liuzhou wrote:

    Banned? The album is available streaming and for download on many Chinese websites. I am sure it will be available on CD very soon.

    The government often 'ban' things but ignore that they are available everywhere. The article is nonsense. Like the album.

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  • 16. At 1:45pm on 25 Nov 2008, sheriffCartman wrote:

    Pop stars as politicians? Sure, that works. Because so many people respect them as intellectuals. This is barely a story, in fact this article is pretty much pandering to the bands need for publicity. Give it a rest.

    "They don't really know what China is really like. They try to understand it in their way, but it's one-sided. I may like the music, the melody. But for lyrics, everyone thinks differently, and stands on a different side. It's a different place, different culture." - Something James that you should take note of.

    Instead, how about concentrating on what was highlighted here. The corruption within China is an issue the real Chinese people have issues with. The fact that they feel the police aren't there to help them, another issue. Most of the people in china don't give two tugs about their perceived lack of democracy or Tibet/Taiwan. Theirs is a different mindset and different issues which may not necessarily be the same as what you want it to be.

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  • 17. At 1:45pm on 25 Nov 2008, zickyyy wrote:

    You must be surprised that the Ordnance are not in prison.


    "If your great wall rocks, blame yourself."

    The great wall rocked not only one in the past. And yes, we should blame ourselves.....of being too weak and too soft.

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  • 18. At 1:52pm on 25 Nov 2008, electricBox2000 wrote:

    Give it a month and this Album will be on sale in all the Fake CD shops throughout China.
    It is also for sale in Hong Kong...Part of China? Right?
    So i guess its ok to ban it rip it off and sell it in places of China that used to have democracy?

    All I know is right now I cant access I tunes ....coincidence? maybe because this album is in the charts...Sighs

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  • 19. At 2:00pm on 25 Nov 2008, sinodeplant wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 20. At 2:23pm on 25 Nov 2008, Xlbfan wrote:

    Officials never listen to rock as it isn't to their taste. If Ordinance had become well known and then started singing the lyrics in James' post, then they might be in trouble. If it reaches too many people, then the authorities do something. There were rumours of Cui Jian being warned about some of his material in the early 90s, as he was reaching more than just audiences of 50 people at a time.

    Besides, the Guns n Roses album is perhaps about China 15 years ago, and in 1993 I don't believe anyone would have even dared sing those words from Ordinance. A (small) sign of progress.

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  • 21. At 2:25pm on 25 Nov 2008, endyjai wrote:

    Oh dear James,

    Are you going to get Ordnance banned? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

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  • 22. At 2:27pm on 25 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

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  • 23. At 2:37pm on 25 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

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  • 24. At 2:53pm on 25 Nov 2008, Belgian_Biscuit wrote:

    There is some irony to the choice of album title - Axl Rose was accused by the rest of the original members of Guns N'Roses of being a dictator.

    Having heard the album, I think some of the songs are rather good!

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  • 25. At 2:55pm on 25 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    There is simply a win-win situation to the GNR and the western media, like the BBC.

    Using such a eye-catching name and distorted lyrics can help GNR find its name on the headlines, which is pretty much like free advert for them. On the other hand, the western media are desperately trying to find some negative topics related with China. So bang, here you go: headlines for GNR, negative news about China for the western media.

    What a great example of partnership and cooperation! lol

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  • 26. At 2:58pm on 25 Nov 2008, D1ST4NC3RUNR wrote:

    Often I read the responses to these issues and I notice 2 kinds of people (generally). 1) People critical of China. 2) People in China who argue that they have freedom / democracy / etc.

    What I've found is that, usually, both sides overstep their bounds. People critical of China need to spend some time in the middle kingdom before they start to make arguments about how the country should be governed.

    Those Chinese Nationals who argue that their country is free are right to some extent: at no time in China's history have people been as free as they are now. But any threat to the government is still remedied without recourse to due process. People may not be tortured anymore, but they're still unfairly imprisoned. These people either have no idea that this is their country's standard operation, or they are reacting to those critical of their country.

    I've come to several conclusions: 1) People in the west need to calm down a bit about their criticism. 2) Chinese Nationals need to open their eyes about what's really going on.

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  • 27. At 3:14pm on 25 Nov 2008, Gheryando wrote:

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  • 28. At 3:16pm on 25 Nov 2008, luhai167 wrote:

    considering half the posts here reads "This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules. " I'm wondering how this is different from China. The post in China are taken down because of the catch it all clause of "thou shall not post anything that threaten the stability of society", wondering what rule they broke here is the free country of UK.

    As for the album, i wondering what's G N' R's aim here, besides making money in the west. My parents and older cousins listens to their music and they are certainly not the type that will start a revolutions.

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  • 29. At 3:23pm on 25 Nov 2008, KrSund70 wrote:

    Sheer Lunacy. The day Guns N' Roses become qualified to comment on Chinese politics is the day Sarah Palin becomes qualified for the White House.

    Now I KNOW you Europeans are more scared of THAT than anything else ...

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  • 30. At 4:23pm on 25 Nov 2008, mauser1898 wrote:

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  • 31. At 4:28pm on 25 Nov 2008, mauser1898 wrote:

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  • 32. At 4:41pm on 25 Nov 2008, jamminben13 wrote:

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  • 33. At 5:03pm on 25 Nov 2008, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso wrote:

    Guns N Roses should release an album called American Democracy criticizing how the Republicans and Democrats repress the Greens and Libertarians. Maybe Guns N Roses could release an album criticizing Cuba, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. No Western Rock Group has the right to criticize China without looking at themselves on the inside.

    There is even a better suggestion, please separate music from politics. Thank You.

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  • 34. At 5:24pm on 25 Nov 2008, beijing_2008 wrote:

    We know China isn't a democracy - we don't need a BBC correspondent (living full-time in China paid for by the British taxpayer) to keep telling us this.

    Some China bashers on here have asked for more diverse opinions from posters. This may be a sensible request, but equally valid is for the author to blog more diverse experiences of his life in China, some of which surely must be positve?

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  • 35. At 5:47pm on 25 Nov 2008, bylooker wrote:

    There are some people out there who have been largely forgotten and therefore are desperate for even a tiny bit of attention. For what? MONEY...They don’t care a bit about China, Chinese people or china democracy. Did they donate their profits to the Chinese earthquake victims? What have they done to improve living standards in China?
    if you treasure democracy so much, hold dear to it and enjoy it in credit crunch.
    I am not against democracy or anything, I just dislike the attitude that these people have that that they live in a better-off society and look down upon China.
    A lot of them found some condolence in this when their economical conditions are not good. "I am poor, but better than Chinese, they even don’t have freedom of speech" "I cannot imagine living in China...terrible, no freedom of speech". even they never had the money to go out 50 miles of where they were born.
    Within 50 years, when China makes the West look like developing countiries, please hold tight onto your democracy, because this will be the only thing that you can still be proud of. or alternatively, you can keep picturing China as if she still looks like in the 1840s. You will feel much better that way...forever...

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  • 36. At 6:07pm on 25 Nov 2008, nathansong wrote:

    James, I don't think you understood what Mr. Qin mean by "a lot of people don't like this kind of music - because it's too noisy, and too loud." Are you really that "immature" to interpretate this sentence literally?

    No. James, I think you are a mature adult, or, aren't you?

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  • 37. At 6:20pm on 25 Nov 2008, RL wrote:

    Chinese Democracy is Chinese's business, not others. China has never pointed her finger to anyone else business.

    It does not mean that Chinese people can tolerant any artists from other country "whip up ethnic hatred" like Bjork shouted "Tibet, Tibet" at a Shanghai concert in March, that's really rude and silly. I have deleted all her tracks from my ipod, I believe there are many Chinese did same thing.

    It is extremely rude that some western "Democracy brats" think others should live the way as they do, that's bullying! Leave Chinese authority and people alone.

    Now Guns N' Roses joined this publicize blunt, hope Chinese theme would bring their more sales, but I do not buy it! 1.5 billion Chinese people do not buy it!

    Guns N' Roses, just load of old rubbish!

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  • 38. At 6:36pm on 25 Nov 2008, RL wrote:

    James, Can I suggest you to use "Chinese Authority" instead of "Chinese Communist Party" from now on? We sense that you do not like "Communist", hence please do not tint your personal preference to the article for misleading readers.

    Let us judge ourself!

    regards


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  • 39. At 6:36pm on 25 Nov 2008, cnuk_fairplyer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 40. At 7:42pm on 25 Nov 2008, onjournalism wrote:

    Musically speaking, it is not wise for an American rock and roll band to preach democracy, although its liberating spirit is a generic feature of music.

    Historically speeking, capitalism and democracy are inseparably linked. As doubts about capitalism rise across the world, the popularity of democracy has been on the wane. Perhaps a new expression is needed to challenge Chinese communist party.

    Freedom has become an enticing and intoxiating word in the old industrialised bloc. In the Chinese context, it used to have connotations of 'selfish' and 'uncaring' but has increasingly shifted to emacipation from social constraints.

    The picture of democracy-communism is quite similar, when freedom in the west doesn't deflect most of people's attention from inevitable regulations and when the same freedom is more valued in China!

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  • 41. At 8:05pm on 25 Nov 2008, magicslience wrote:

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  • 42. At 8:16pm on 25 Nov 2008, Williedaho wrote:

    Why do people keep on telling other countries how to rule.

    Its not like USA is heaven.
    Unemployment rates sky high, financial corporations in troubles, the big three car makes asking for help, not to mention high crime rates, invasion of another country and low popularity worldwide.

    Yes Obama will change some of these perceptions and problems but if anything we should ask America to behave properly rather then calling for democracy in other nations.

    China is not really one of the world problems.
    Other countries are more problematic, like Zimbabwe, North Korea and I mention the countries that were invaded?
    We should work together and help solve these issues, not start them.

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  • 43. At 8:31pm on 25 Nov 2008, SooooooCold wrote:

    I'm sorry the Chinese official have vented his indignation caused by GNR at James. And thank James for presenting the Chinese band's opinion.

    Sometimes Chinese social walls are build because westerners are either unaware or takes satisfaction for being threatening. Sometimes it's just xenophobia from the Chinese side.

    But if one can speak Chinese, quote from historical figures, and demonstrate some knowledge about Chinese culture, usually those people are not walled against. Because it shows they have some degree of commitment, and are not just treating Chinese people as some dimissable object.

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  • 44. At 8:32pm on 25 Nov 2008, redtibetan wrote:

    good luck to the other chinese band. through your voice you are making a contribution to the chinese society. you are the voice of the voiceless. i know china is very corrupted and the officials and the police are all under the communist government and treat people badly. through your music you can change it slowly. how many of chinese out there do really care about their fellow chinese? how many can raise their fingers to the official about whats happening to the oridnary people? good luck to your band.. belief in people's power. history taught us. be a revolutionary band.

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  • 45. At 11:59pm on 25 Nov 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    Let me answer the question at the end of the article:

    Both bands will have no impact or wotsoever on the democratic progress in China.

    Who cares what they are shouting about? People go to the pub for the music not for those political nonsense.



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  • 46. At 00:25am on 26 Nov 2008, Batcow wrote:

    I'm happy for the chinese people that they will be spared exposure to the most narcissistic, derivative, hypocritical rip-off merchants that rock music has ever known. The US government should issue a public apology to world for Guns 'n' Roses.

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  • 47. At 00:41am on 26 Nov 2008, taobo33 wrote:

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  • 48. At 00:47am on 26 Nov 2008, taobo33 wrote:

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  • 49. At 01:07am on 26 Nov 2008, chineseinoz wrote:

    James, I don’t see anything wrong for a government to try to ban something against it.

    Correct me if I am wrong. A couple years ago, the US government banned a documentary which criticized its reaction against the September 11 tragedy, which was made by their own people. They only lifted the ban under the great pressure for public because the documentary was overwhelmed in the overseas markets. This is not about democracy, but it’s about attitude.

    Come on James, don’t be that naïve. You are an adult.

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  • 50. At 02:07am on 26 Nov 2008, singxmm wrote:

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  • 51. At 02:30am on 26 Nov 2008, antimatterbomb wrote:

    "According to my knowledge, a lot of OLD people IN THE GOV don't like this kind of music - because it's too noisy, and too loud. " ---- I guess he forgot to add those few words :D, though I dont like GNR neither coz...they r not noisy enough?

    No surprise GNR's new album doesn't get released in China, so do many hugely popular artists' music even if it is non-political. But we get them somehow anyway. Even 10-20 years ago when internet weren't that widely available, we have the latest albums of Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana (yah all those big names) pretty soon after they were released, either through pirates or what we called Da Kou---cds that were saled to the country as plastic refuse but collected by us as treasures. Nowadays I see high school kids get whatever music they want pretty easily, even original copies.

    Not saying that the country has freedom or anything, just the music.

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  • 52. At 03:08am on 26 Nov 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

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  • 53. At 03:24am on 26 Nov 2008, Phelps-li wrote:

    I think whether if it is a democracy society should the people under it really have the understanding dare to respond it.
    Definitely there were many corruption and "incidents" ereryyear, but I feel justice as the society is openning for all opportuinites and I am not in scaring of been treated unfairly anyway...this is the standards of justice by John Rowls.
    The fact is the album not been banned...if some songs insult your country or party, the internet bugs will resist them accordingly, not the political, just for the nation feeling..

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  • 54. At 05:08am on 26 Nov 2008, agatefirmament wrote:

    If Mr. Reynolds knows anything more about Chinese culture than a reporter who is constantly trying to debase everything in his reports, then he should have mentioned how the Chinese don't like to hear superficial accusations from amateurs, especially a bunch of potheads like Gun's n Roses. They are singing about Chinese democracy because its commercially viable, just like Mr. Reynolds negative reports.

    China is changing faster than you imagine and things are better than the lyrics. Not recognizing that is worse than having Guns and Roses banned.

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  • 55. At 05:24am on 26 Nov 2008, Wil wrote:

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  • 56. At 05:35am on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    To Gothnet #12,

    Christianity is not a regime I’d like to live under, however the Westerners seem to have cultivated an obscure breed of nationalism which makes them unlikely to try to upset the church any time soon.

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  • 57. At 05:35am on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    To RobL77 #14,

    From my personal experience in the US, through my postings on various website, including youTube, the US controls most forms of media and almost garantees that whether one lives in the US, or is outside it, any dissenting opinions will be forcibly suppressed when they appear to threaten the ruling Christian power and authority. This can’t help but stunt the West’s growth as a thriving world power.

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  • 58. At 05:36am on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 59. At 06:10am on 26 Nov 2008, pattang wrote:

    Um i seem to remember the Sex pistols getting banned by the BBC some time back.
    No freedom of speech there.
    I live in China and i have little difficulty access any information sensitive or not.
    BBC seems to suffer badly from double standards.
    Seem to also remember a blanket ban on reporting anything said by certain political organizations in Northern Ireland.
    i grew up with no clue what was going on there and i of Irish Catholic descent.
    So BBC you have lost all respect from me regards anything you say on this web site.
    As for Guns an roses -old hat , i just listened to the complete album in china , pretty rubbish.
    I grew up with Guns and roses but I'm afraid they now in the bin with me, for good.

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  • 60. At 06:16am on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

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  • 61. At 06:55am on 26 Nov 2008, MidnightJunkie wrote:

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  • 62. At 07:09am on 26 Nov 2008, Renee1112 wrote:

    #10. Senlin

    Acctually BBC does the same --- block the posts when they find it's not what they want. A lot of my posts are blocked too. No matter Chinese media or western media, they have their own rule. If the post goes "a little too far" from their rule, it won't be shown. Maybe, western media does better than Chinese media, but it makes little difference.

    As for Guns N' Roses, not only the Chinese government wanna forbid it, but also the majority of Chinese people won't support it.

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  • 63. At 07:46am on 26 Nov 2008, BeijingLondon wrote:

    En, very interesting observation.

    I wonder if the Brits would be happy to see an album titled "Fxxx the Queen" sung by a Chinese.

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  • 64. At 08:39am on 26 Nov 2008, Xie_Ming wrote:

    In a previous thread, someone asked "What is freedom?".

    It would be even more difficult to answer "What is democracy?"

    f we look at the USA, Britain, France and Germany, we have to wonder how good what they (individually) refer to as "democracy" is.

    How to have a government FOR the benefit of the people?

    One key element is the ability of the people to "throw the rascals out". But, how often should this be allowed?

    Is one generation, or fifteen years, too often?

    Can the ruling class avoid corruption?

    Looking at things this way does involve thinking outside of the box of inculcated prejudices.
    _______________________

    Being more specific, being ruled by a carefully selected elite might be a better solution than what currently passes for Western-style democracy.

    But, how and when to replace the elite when they do not give satisfaction?

    How to reduce nepotism and corruption?

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  • 65. At 08:40am on 26 Nov 2008, Cocozk wrote:

    #26

    You are quite reasonable.

    1) People in the west need to calm down a bit about their criticism. ==> I can't agree more. Western medias esp. BBC like so much about any bad news about China. You can't rely solely on it to learn about China because it's so biased and one-sided. Find other ways and you will have many other voices. The best way is to come to China and to see it by yourselves.

    2) Chinese Nationals need to open their eyes about what's really going on. ==> Chinese government is absolutely not perfect and no governments are in this planet, but we have seen our government is doing better and better now and we will go on watching what's next. Plus, we do have democracy of our own kind, not western patern otherwise. Maybe the democracy is not so perfect and have its limits and even defects, but it is suitable and good for us. We are trying to do better.



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  • 66. At 08:53am on 26 Nov 2008, mhrlit wrote:

    If this is not paranoia I don't what is. Banning a bunch of has beens because they call you evil in their little song. Hang on it must be the evil western media.

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  • 67. At 09:46am on 26 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    #33

    Well it's not like Guns n Roses never sung about American politics. Whether they are 'qualified' (as you people call it) is irrelevant. These rock bands will sing anything that makes them look 'cool'.

    It's probably smart of them to sing about Chinese Democracy this time as they know they wouldn't have attracted half as much Chinese attention if they sang about American Democracy.

    In a way CCP might have done ecactly what the band wanted - in China, the harder the government try to ban a material, the harder people will try to get their hands on the material. You can expect the sales of this album in hong kong to go up.

    As for Ordnance, they will never make it big in China, not that people will never like their music, just that CCP will never allow them to become popular/mainstream. The band will either have to change their style or stick with the small clubs and keep themselves 'underground'.

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  • 68. At 09:56am on 26 Nov 2008, heyone wrote:

    #37 tofupanda

    Interesting perspective - Criticize China and then you become load of rubbish.

    Bjork would be grateful if people really BOUGHT her albums, ripped the songs into their Ipods and subsequently deleted them all just when they heard this 'Westerner' shouting the geographical term Tibet !

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  • 69. At 10:00am on 26 Nov 2008, panda_inc wrote:

    why so many removed comments? half the fun of reading this blog comes from the comments.

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  • 70. At 3:20pm on 26 Nov 2008, Chineseconscience wrote:

    Thank James, thank Guns N' Roses!

    After all, who will really be concerned about what Chinese people is suffering in the current world? The western governments have done nothing except some small-beer words called "human rights proposal". The U.S. and other countries rather wasted a enormous amount of money and lives to assault Iraq and Afghanistan to no avail, while ignoring the tragedies, persecutions, repressions and massacres everyday happening in China.

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  • 71. At 3:38pm on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 72. At 3:40pm on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 73. At 3:42pm on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 74. At 3:52pm on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 75. At 3:53pm on 26 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 76. At 4:15pm on 26 Nov 2008, Chineseconscience wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 77. At 4:40pm on 26 Nov 2008, brilliantChunchun wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 78. At 4:45pm on 26 Nov 2008, ricky-tanzil wrote:

    Music is music. Politics is politics. Both are beautiful as long there are no interventions each other.
    In other word, stop politizicing the music. It is not beautiful anymore.

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  • 79. At 11:25pm on 26 Nov 2008, Zhubajie wrote:

    College students in China listen to the kind of romantic love songs that are also popular in S. Korea and Japan. Heavy Metal Music is about as popular as Beijing Opera is in the USA.

    Maybe Reynolds should spend more time hanging out with ordinary Beijing people? Robert van Gulik was an outstanding diplomat in E. Asia because he spent his time chatting with noodle shop owners and harlots, not politicians and diplomats. He can do the same. Wear Chinese clothing, speak a bit of Chinese, and he could pass for a Xinjiang person easily enough.

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  • 80. At 02:32am on 27 Nov 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    Ha! I finally also got one of those legendary emails from the moderator saying that this forum has been closed and I can no longer post comment on it, and my previous comment (which is a pure innocent factual observation on how many comments have been removed recently) was removed.

    I don't really need to try to re-post my comments - anybody with a pair of eyes can see for himself how many comments have been removed.

    James, I think you'd better stop complaining about how your posts on Chinese internet discussion forums are deleted.

    Although all along I have been a defender of China, I have had a decent amount of respect of the democratic systems in many of the western countries. Well, that amount of respect is deminishing now.

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  • 81. At 03:55am on 27 Nov 2008, funnyanotherblogger wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 04:38am on 27 Nov 2008, Chineseconscience wrote:

    To BBC:

    You disappointed me! I wouldn't have known that there are also so many taboos to you just like the CCP, if you hadn't feared to delete everything. So I want to know why you opened the comment board if all we can see are the "removed". I think it's time to say good-bye, no! farewell to you, the junks!

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  • 83. At 06:30am on 27 Nov 2008, avrilhn wrote:

    It is the first time i comment on such an eyeball-catching article. I guess Mr.Reynolds will laugh in his beard after finding a lot of readers following his blogs, pouring comments, contributing traffics which makes his blog on the main pages of BBC website.

    Success and necessity for a blogger, i know, it is a way for him to be famous and make living.

    I am Chinese, born after the 80's. I graduated from a university for political science, which is directly affiliated to Central Communist Youth League (CCYL), but earn my bread in E-travel sector. I do not become an official or a CPC member only because i am not interested, the same as most of my classmates do when choosing careers.

    We never deny there are problems existing in our country, the unparallel development between the east and west parts, urban and rural areas, the enlarging income gap between rich and the most people , the serious challenges on controlling pollution. corruption and so forth as well as the issue you guys always clamoring: human rights.

    To tell the truth, we Chinese are not idiots who are totally brain-washed as you can imagine, nor were we Chinese blind to the flaws of the system, we won't hide up the wrongs and pretending nothing happened, do you guys forget: we are a nation with more than thousands of years history and wisdom.

    So why we "endure" so much misfortune you guys told? I tell you:

    Only when someone makes progress from sheer poverty will he be proud of all the achievements he made, only when someone escapes from miserable slavery lives will he cherish the freedom he got, It is us that witness every efforts our country made, we know we have suffered a lot in the past and we need peace, we need toleranrance of our faults becuase we are searching for progress step by step. What we need is time.

    Democracy, Democracy, what is your so-called democracy, The none official country Samaria (notorious for its pirates), or the cholera suffered Zimbabwe, or Irap where the demonstration of your highly honoured democracy, i am so pity to say a country of thousand years cultivation with most heritages in Baghdad or Basra burned into grounds when you bring them democracy, broken legs, blooding bodys, homeless children is the aftermath as getting your democracy, those poor people would like to be ruled by Saddam Hussein i guess. Or you think democracy belongs to the rampage Mumbai while the terrorist shot the heads of you westerners.

    I think you guys will be cheering for Chinese democracy only when you see 1.4 billion people suffering from endless domestic quarrels and wars, degenerating as most poor Zimbabweans in sheer want of clean water and sanitation.

    Or your guys tell us who will take care of Chinese people and bring us your so-called democracy , your spiritual idol Dalai Lama, your media BBC or CNN, your presidents, or the newly elected world-saver Obama, or you, Mr.Reynolds.

    Oh, come on guys, it is our government that will take benefits of Chinese people, it is our Chinese people who will save ourselves.


    At last, i want to say, your guys please continue to criticize China, you media please go on depicting the negative pictures about China, and we Chinese people, will go on making progress on economic and social development with your gossip and criticism.

    Let's wait and see in next 20 years.

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  • 84. At 06:59am on 27 Nov 2008, tianyu0915 wrote:

    Let us judge ourselfs...

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  • 85. At 08:38am on 27 Nov 2008, MidnightJunkie wrote:

    Comment removed? Must be irrelevant to topic. sheesh.

    Banning offensive foreign music?

    Well, it happens most of the time. Malaysia banned Ben Stiller's movie "Zoolander" from showing in local theatres.

    Although can someone please enlighten as to what parts the Chinese censor found offensive in Guns and Roses songs?

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  • 86. At 11:21am on 27 Nov 2008, funnyanotherblogger wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 87. At 3:03pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 88. At 3:05pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 3:05pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 90. At 3:08pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 3:17pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 92. At 3:30pm on 27 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 93. At 5:32pm on 27 Nov 2008, sinodeplant wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 94. At 7:24pm on 27 Nov 2008, brilliantChunchun wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 95. At 9:21pm on 27 Nov 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    "In the end which band will have the greater impact on China? The I think the ordnance band lead said well enough. For the question, Guns N' Roses will surely make a bigger fuss but the impact would be little if not negative. Many Chinese will just go against western intervention instead of supporting the cause. This is, to me, a distraction to achieve real Chinese Democracy.

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  • 96. At 9:32pm on 27 Nov 2008, GotMilked wrote:

    This is a very prejudiced report in regards to this vulgarly commercial-pop oriented "rock and roll" album by GNR and Geffen records. That Chinese band Ordnance I've seen play before here in Beijing for many years, and now suddenly, this James BBC guy decides to promote their music.

    Ordnance is VERY DEMOCRACTIC, in fact so much so, they have a song called "THIS IS OURS" WHICH IS VERY CRITICAL TOWARDS WESTERN MEDIA HYPOCRISY, BUT IRONICALLY, our little "extoller of western democracy" James here, excluded that from mention in this article? Why? Does it offend the western-democratic sensitivities?

    There's a LIVE VIDEO OF THIS(!) on Youtube: just goto Youtube main mage and search the words "chinese" + "democracy", and it's on the first page usually, because it's been quite popular! There are some other crazy-sounding Chinese bands presented as well. And yes, there really is free speech in China, if you know how to do it right!

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  • 97. At 11:29am on 28 Nov 2008, funnyanotherblogger wrote:

    @70.

    "The U.S. and other countries rather wasted a enormous amount of money and lives to assault Iraq and Afghanistan to no avail, while ignoring the tragedies, persecutions, repressions and massacres everyday happening in China."

    Are you suggesting the USA should invade China instead?

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  • 98. At 4:49pm on 28 Nov 2008, timbatu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 99. At 11:42am on 30 Nov 2008, thisisacryforhelp wrote:

    To many, especially to those who indulge in the Party Education, music is received as "easy-listening". Ironically, art is difficult. Only "easy" when you don't care.

    However, Mr. Qin Gang The Spokesman does show that he has inherent ability in music criticism and surely never missed a single Party Music class. "Noisy, loud, and youthful", something many bands would dream about.

    The band rocking in US statiums could go on a world tour travelling on a private jet landing in star airports, the one in China keeps banging guitars in a dark backstreet bar against tooting fanfare and propagandas. These worldly differences don't seem to make them sound contradictory, they all try to depict the same spirits, in their own ways.

    Many official bans in China come under "unofficial" disguise to make sure there is no they-done-it proof. It's Party-image-friendly and with no publicity boost for the banned.

    It was not a rumour - but a fact - Cui Jian, a Chinese musician had managed to sell millions of copies just for his debut album alone Rock On The New Long March in the mid 80s, before the piracy business boomed. Then almost every release was followed by the secret bans, the bans, and the bans - airplays, live performances, stores and publishers(note: Broadcasting and publishing are state owned and controlled).

    Bans happen and keep happening all the time not only to Cui Jian but to many other artists in a diverse range - domestic and worldwide (odds here: why bans on actresses for "being naked in films" only to Chinese not foreign ones? Do Chinese police break into visiting foreign artists hotel rooms or private homes to force-test for narcotics?)

    Concerts and gigs are often cancelled or postponed, arbitrarily, particularly in Beijing even if nothing's politically related. Reasons are the absurd all sorts - conferences, foreign leader visits, some unlucky dates, or even the Olympics.

    Maybe you can still obtain those banned materials music/films/books illegally from China's Phonywood. Okay, bans may help gain publicity to some degrees but it's never a "win win situation" for China itself. It destroys Chinese artist careers, it encourages the piracies, it damages art/culture-related businesses, and leaves the world with little half-decent Chinese contemporary cultural treasure to be proud about. But, this kind of political persecution is just the price the Party want those who they consider - Deviants - to pay.

    The List of The Banned is lengthy(Mozart and Handel recently joined it, not a joke), which will keep rolling to get even longer as more and more world artists may have a crush on China while the Party is rocking on the worldstage.

    Artists, are a breed of creative people who usually work on spontaneity to express their private feelings about the world they live in (please note: Artists do not mean those involved in propaganda making). Spiritually they're influential. In reality, no one makes better impact than authoritarians whose misuses of Power may result in human disasters - tortures, mass killings and culture genocide - those are the ones venomous, who really deserve a ban.

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  • 100. At 11:54pm on 01 Dec 2008, Nicky9L wrote:

    "According to my knowledge, a lot of people don't like this kind of music - because it's too noisy, and too loud."

    This made me feel sick, just showed how little his "knowledge" is.

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  • 101. At 03:07am on 02 Dec 2008, waltluo wrote:

    I agree with #26.
    I think it is good for westerners to visit China as our Chinese people trying very hard to study western cultures..

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