Gaga Over Censorship in China

By: Qichen Zhang on 30 August 2011

The Chinese government recently announced that it would no longer allow songs from artists like Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys to be played on Chinese websites. Last week, the country’s Ministry of Culture released a list of 100 songs to be banned from music download portals. The government bureau justified the enforcement of the musical black list based on economic and cultural grounds, saying:

“Certain websites have been allowing users to play, listen to and download the listed songs... Such actions have disturbed the online music market order and endangered national cultural safety.”

Asian artists represent the majority of the list, but popular American songs including Lady Gaga’s “Judas” and the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” have also been marked as offensive. MTV UK reports that the ministry’s homepage has ordered all personal sites to remove the specified tracks and would “face punishment” otherwise.

This comes right on the heels of a Communist Party warning to a Chinese microblogging service. When visiting Internet behemoth Sina headquarters, politburo member Liu Qi told Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to stop spreading “fake and harmful information,” according to PC World. In a statement, Liu advised Internet companies to “strengthen management,” but no specific details were provided. As Beijing begins a sweeping investigation of possible dissenters in the country, the country seems to be tightening its grip on Internet participation and activities.