Apr 8, 2006

Rolling Stones censorship

The Rolling Stones have their only mainland China tour date today in Shanghai. If only I had that sweet ex-pat salary package, I could see myself jetting down there for the weekend, staying in the Ritz-Carlton, and enjoying the concert from US$200 seats. Some day perhaps.

Above: billboard near Workers Stadium in Beijing

In this article regarding the censorship of some of the Stones' songs while in China, Mick Jagger says:
"..I'm pleased that the Minister of Culture is protecting the morals of the ex-pat bankers and their girlfriends who are going to turn up."
He's right-on with that comment. To add to that, even if the audience consisted mainly of locals, rather than ex-pats, they could be listening to an Andrew Dice Clay stand-up act, and the overwhelming majority wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of it.

To be sure, China is not the only place with restrictions on free speech. However, the censorship of some of the songs is really too much, given that nearly every neighborhood in China has its own collection of whorehouse "barbershops" and sex toy stores, men frequently go to karaoke bars to solicit escorts and hookers, and extra-marital mistresses and girlfriends are accepted practice. The songs the Chinese government is restricting are related to hookers and various aspects of sex. When you've got a national population of one point something billion and a thriving adult entertainment industry in every city, it's time to admit that the sexual morals of your citizens aren't going to be erroded any more than they already have.

We should point out that the censorship here is no different than what's occurred elsewhere. Let's Spend the Night Together was censored on American television at one point as well... 39 years ago!


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