Chinese authorities seem to waging a war on pop music. The Ministry of Culture has handed music download Web sites a blacklist of 100 so-called offending songs that the sites must remove as they pose a threat to China's national cultural security, say reports.
The list of 100 forbidden songs includes tracks by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce Knowles and the backstreet Boys.
The 100 Internet songs which are listed in the attached notice didn't abide by content censorship or record registration according to the Internet Culture Management Temporary Provisions, is the explanation provided on the Ministry of Culture's Web site. This is the third time that Chinese officials have come up with a song list that music Web sites in China are forbidden to distribute. Unless the record labels submit the songs for official approval, the sites have until Sept 15 to remove the songs or face unspecified punishment.
Lady Gaga was the most banned of all the acts with six of her songs on the list, all of which are from her latest album, Born This Way, reports the Daily Mail. The 12-year-old ballad I want it that way by the Backstreet Boys was also deemed unfit to the interest of the People's Republic.
Katy Perry's Last Friday Night and Beyonce Knowles' Girls run the world were also considered too vulgar and racy, according to E! Online.
Most of the songs on the lists are by artists from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. The Chinese government takes great care in screening all imported entertainment content for political messages or commentary that runs contrary to its official line.
Previous songs considered as threats to Chinese culture included Michael Jackson's Hold My Hand, a Chinese cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On and four songs by Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne.
Chinese authorities have become cautious of Western musicians after Icelandic singer Bjork shouted 'Tibet!' during a 2008 Shanghai concert having just performed her song 'Declare Independence'.
China's dynamic community of about 485 million Internet users has expressed resentment over the heavy handed treatment of the Chinese officials.
Does the Ministry of Culture only want us to hear Red (revolutionary) songs from now on? one commentator wrote on the popular Sina Weibo microblogging Web site.
Pop music censorship tends to be unwittingly comical because censors show so little understanding of the art form. For every song that is banned, hundreds more explicit ones go unmolested, wrote Dorian Lynskey in guardian.co.uk.