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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China State Media Blast New Guns N' Roses Album

November 26, 2008

By Christopher Bodeen
November 25, 2008

BEIJING (AP) -- A newspaper published by China's ruling Communist
Party is blasting the latest Guns N' Roses album as an attack on the
Chinese nation.

Delayed since recording began in 1994, "Chinese Democracy" hit stores
in the U.S. on Sunday, although it is unlikely to be sold legally in
China, where censors maintain tight control over films, music and publications.

In an article Monday headlined "American band releases album
venomously attacking China," the Global Times said unidentified
Chinese Internet users had described the album as part of a plot by
some in the West to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn."

The album "turns its spear point on China," the article said.

China's Foreign Ministry did not respond to faxed questions about the
article, although a spokesman speaking on routine condition of
anonymity said: "We don't need to comment on that."

Spokesmen for the Culture Ministry and State Administration of Radio,
Film and Television, government bodies that regulate album releases
and performances, could not be reached for comment.

The Global Times article referred only to the title of the album and
not to specific song lyrics. The record's title track makes a
reference to the Falun Gong meditation movement that was banned by
China as an "evil cult" and warns "if your Great Wall rocks blame
yourself," in an apparent message to the country's authoritarian government.

Songs from the album could be heard on Internet sites such as YouTube
and the band's MySpace page on Monday and it was not immediately
possible to tell whether China's Internet monitors were seeking to
block access to it.

Monitors use content filters that highlight and sometimes block
messages containing words such as democracy. That prompted some
Internet users to combine English and Chinese characters in their
postings about the album to skirt such monitoring.

China approves only limited numbers of foreign films and recordings
for distribution each year, partly due to political concerns but also
to protect domestic producers.

Live performances are also closely regulated, with bands forced to
submit set lists beforehand. The Rolling Stones were asked not to
play several songs with suggestive lyrics during their 2006 China
debut, including "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Beast of Burden"
and "Let's Spend the Night Together."

Earlier this year, bandleader Harry Connick Jr. was forced to make
last-minute changes to his show in Shanghai because an old song list
was mistakenly submitted to Chinese authorities to secure the
performance permit for the concert. Authorities insisted he play the
songs on the original list, even though his band did not have the
music for them.

That came just a week after Icelandic singer Bjork embarrassed
authorities by shouting "Tibet!" at the end of a Shanghai concert,
prompting stricter vetting of foreign performers.

Despite such restrictions, computer file sharing and pirating of
DVDs, computer games and music CDs is rampant in China, meaning that
much banned material is available through alternative channels.
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