Tiananmen rocker set for major show

By Martin Patience
BBC News, Beijing

image captionCui Jian, who has been asked to perform on national television, is a household name in China

His best known song, Nothing to My Name, was the unofficial anthem of the Tiananmen Square protests 25 years ago.

Cui Jian is widely described as China's "father of rock". And now, according to his manager, the singer has been invited to perform at China's Spring Festival Gala later this month.

With an audience of hundreds of millions, the Chinese New Year TV gala show is one of the most watched programmes anywhere on the planet. It's best known for its patriotic songs, comedy sketches, and dance routines.

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

image captionChina's Tiananmen Square in Beijing was the venue of student protests in 1989

'On the students' side'

During the protests, he performed in the square to thousands of students. But on June 4 1989, China's Communist party leader Deng Xiaoping 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's sold millions of records - has once again been playing in front of big crowds.

He's still a household name in China, although a younger generation is acquiring newer musical tastes.

His manager says that he's 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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