China

China protest singer Cui Jian pulls out of TV gala

  • 18 January 2014
  • From the section China
Cui Jian
Cui Jian is known as China's "father of rock"

Chinese singer Cui Jian, one of whose songs became an anthem of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, has pulled out of a major show on state TV.

He had been due to play at China's Spring Festival Gala, which draws a TV audience of hundreds of millions.

His manager You You said that he withdrew after organisers tried to censor his performance.

In 1989, he had performed to protesting students in Tiananmen Square, who took up his song Nothing to My Name.

Cui Jian had wanted to sing the song during the gala, but the organisers said he would have to choose another, You You told AP.

"It is not only our regret, but also the gala's,'' she said.

The Chinese New Year TV gala show is one of the most watched programmes anywhere on the planet and is best known for its patriotic songs, comedy sketches, and dance routines.

Student demonstrations in China's Tiananmen Square, 1989
Cui Jian has said he was "on the students' side" in 1989

With the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square just a few months away, Cui Jian had appeared to be a risky, political choice for such a primetime performance, correspondents say.

During the protests, he performed in the square to thousands of students. But on 4 June 1989, China's Communist party ordered the military to end the demonstrations - hundreds, if not, thousands were killed.

The singer has made no bones about his allegiances during that time. "I was really clear about standing on the students' side," he told the BBC back in 2010.

Following the protests, he was barred from playing large venues. But in recent years the musician - who has sold millions of records - has once again been playing in front of big crowds.

He is still a household name in China.

His manager says that he has been asked to perform on national TV before.

But she adds these events sometimes fall through because Cui Jian refuses to lip sync.

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