China Bans Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy

China Bans Guns N' Roses' <i>Chinese Democracy</i>
While North America got its moment of rock’n'roll history yesterday with the release of Gun N’ Roses’ long-promised Chinese Democracy, it appears the same cannot be said of China. According to several media reports, the band’s new album has been banned by Chinese authorities because the LP "turns its spear point on China” and uses the "D word” in the album title, consequently leaving many Chinese GN’R fans out in the cold.

The Wall Street Journal reports that China’s government-owned music importer, China National Publications Import and Export Group, told Chinese distributors not to bother ordering the GN'R album because shops will not be allowed to stock it. Anything with "democracy" in the name is "not going to work," the newspaper quotes an official from the organization as saying. Also, officials have reportedly blocked a number of Guns N’ Roses websites, and even the album’s official site, www.chinesedemocracy.com, in attempts to block fans from accessing information about the release.

The Ministry of Culture, which oversees China National Publications Import and Export Group, forbids music imports that violate any of its ten criteria, such as music that promotes "evil sects” or damages social morality. And according to the Global Times, this is exactly what Chinese Democracy is guilty of. The official tabloid of China’s Communist party said that the GN’R album is part of a larger Western conspiracy to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn,” leading the paper to title its story "American band releases album venomously attacking China” and write that the LP "turns its spear point on China.”

While the band’s 46-year-old Axl Rose has rarely discussed the reasoning behind the Chinese Democracy title, the Wall Street Journal points us to a 1999 TV appearance where the singer said: "Well, there's a lot of Chinese democracy movements, and it's something that there's a lot of talk about, and it's something that will be nice to see. It could also just be like an ironic statement. I don't know, I just like the sound of it.”

In a recent Daily Telegraph article, China’s Ministry of Culture denied there was any ban on Chinese Democracy in China, with a official saying that it was "the first time we've heard about it,” adding: "[It] might just be a rumour."