While Lady Gaga and Katy Perry rocked at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, they have also been blacklisted in China, finding themselves on a new banned list of artists for their vulgar lyrics.
An official blacklist of songs that cannot be aired, listened or streamed was recently released by China's Ministry of Culture's censorship bureau, as a threat to China's national cultural security.
While most of the blacklisted 100 songs are from Taiwan or Hongkong, they include Lady Gaga's Born This Way, The Edge of Glory, Judas and Hair as well as Katy Perry's Last Friday Night. Beyonce's Run The World (Girls) and The Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way too have been outlawed, the latter
for its lyrics You are my fire/ the one desire.
The Chinese government carefully screens the content of imported entertainment content for political messages or commentary that runs contrary to its official line, but these 100 songs were never submitted for mandatory government screening.
If music downloading and streaming sites don't purge those songs by Sept. 15, the violators would be punished, while the exact penalties were not outlined.
China is no novice at such tactics. Guns and Roses' 2008 record Chinese Democracy was also banned, for obvious reasons, and Tibetan rapper Tashi Dhondup was imprisoned for 10 months last year for recording subversive and rebellious songs. Last May, the Chinese government also banned a Mongolian hip hop protest song dedicated to a Mongolian herder who was killed by a Chinese coal mining truck.
The bans are often puzzling and inconsistent. A 12-year-old song from a defunct boy band is out, along with a seemingly harmless song by Owl City with the lyrics Your spirit is sweet, so pull off your sheet, while more explicit material from Nicki Minaj and Drake is allowed.