Why is Beijing so bothered by Aging Rockers?

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When that dreadful Icelandic singer Bjork made her “Tibet, Tibet” protest at her Shanghai concert earlier this year, Chinese officialdom was relatively restrained. Vice Minister of Culture Zhou Heping noted that the fey, shrieking one had “caused dissatisfaction among the broader Chinese audience” (believe me, they’re not the only ones) but stressed that it was an isolated case that wouldn’t “affect China inviting other countries’ artists from coming to perform.” This is treating a woman who dresses like an art student’s nightmare with the indifference she deserves.
But on the subject of musicians (and following on from Simon’s earlier post), it is puzzling that the release of Guns N’ Roses’ new album, Chinese Democracy, should be greeted with such regressive vitriol. I mean, the Communist Party-published Global Times actually believes that this plodding, over-produced chunk of dad rock is “venomously attacking China” and that 46-year-old Axl Rose—he of the girly braids and temper tantrums—and the rest of the band are turning a “spear point” on the country. Global Times? It sounds more like the Pyongyang Daily. And now access to the band’s website has been blocked.
Far better to have not reacted at all—but someone in the Chinese government is clearly laboring under the touching delusion that Guns N’ Roses’ utterances actually matter. It makes you look infantile, Mr Commissar.

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