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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View This Issue
ASIA / PACIFIC
February 3, 2014
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 3
Chinese rocker quits state TV show over song choice
BEIJING (AP) — A legendary Chinese
rocker has refused to perform at a state
broadcaster’s variety show after being
denied permission to sing a song that
became an unofficial anthem of the 1989
pro-democracy protests, according to his
Cui Jian had proposed to sing his 1986
song “Nothing to My Name” at China
Central Television’s (CCTV) January 30
gala show marking the Lunar New Year,
but the event’s censors told him he would
have to choose another, according to his
manager, You You.
Cui decided to quit the show instead of
singing a different song, You You said.
Cui sang “Nothing to My Name” at
Tiananmen Square for students on a
hunger strike in 1989, days before the
government sent in tanks and troops to
crack down on the demonstrations.
Later, Communist authorities denied
him permission for concerts and censored
his lyrics. In 2005, he was allowed to
headline at a Beijing stadium, and the
following year he performed with the
Rolling Stones in Shanghai, singing “Wild
Horses” alongside Mick Jagger.
“It is not only our regret, but also the
gala’s,” the manager said. “Cui Jian has
his fans all over the world, so his stage is
far beyond the CCTV’s gala.”
The state broadcaster could not be
reached for comment.
Many members of the Chinese public
praised Cui, 52, for refusing to kowtow to
“You are still so proud,” Mongolian
singer Daiqing Tana of the Beijing-based
group Haya Band wrote on her microblog.
“You are the backbone and gall of this land.
Your music is the hope and despair of this
“The gala will always be the same gala,
but Cui Jian will not be the same Cui Jian
if he appears there,” storytelling artist Li
Boqing wrote on his microblog.
Cui fell out of favor with the Chinese
government after he sided with the
Tiananmen protesters, but received an
invitation this year from CCTV to perform
at the annual show.
Since its inception in the early 1980s,
the television gala has become a staple for
the holiday celebrations, although it has
become widely mocked for its cheesy per-
formances and stilted staging, prompting
organizers to hire popular film director
Feng Xiaogang to direct the 2014 gala.
Known as the godfather of Chinese rock,
Cui won fame in the late 1980s with songs
such as “Nothing to My Name,” voicing the
hopes and anxieties of a generation of
Chinese entering adulthood after the
death of Mao Zedong and the end of
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PRINCIPLED STANCE. Chinese rock singer Cui Jian performs during a concert in Beijing, China, in this
December 24, 2009 file photo. The Chinese rocker known for his rebellious style did not perform at a state
broadcaster’s variety show for the Lunar New Year after he refused a request by organizers to sing a different
song than his own choice, according to his manager. (AP Photo)
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