Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 3 News List

UN MEMBERSHIP: ChthoniC takes struggle to US audiences

STAFF WRITER , WITH REUTERS, WASHINGTON

Black metal band ChthoniC from Taiwan took the nation's uphill struggle for UN membership to US arenas this year as the first Asian extreme metal group on hard rock icon Ozzy Osbourne's Ozzfest tour.

Goth-style rockers ChthoniC acknowledged that the headbanging, expletive-laced music they served up in some 60 cities in North America over the past summer may not help Taiwan overcome 14 failed attempts to join the UN.

But lead singer Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said that his six-piece band won sympathetic awareness of the isolation that China imposes on Taiwan from rock fans who previously couldn't locate the nation on a map.

"For these young people, it's very logical and natural to support Taiwan to join international society and for Taiwanese to share the same international rights that they have," he told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

"But the politicians in the United Nations seem to think it's more logical and natural to sacrifice Taiwan in their political games," Lim said.

In association with its "UNlimited Taiwan" concert theme, which introduces the foreign audience to the difficulties Taiwan faces in its efforts to join international organizations, ChthoniC also took examples of Taiwan's paper doll crafts on its tour of Europe, the US and Asia to introduce the nation's culture and folk art to their fans around the world.

In the band's new English single, UNLimited Taiwan, Lim shouts, "UNLimited Island. UNLimited fight," with the guttural roar of goth vocals.

In conversations with reporters, however, Lim speaks softly and politely in fluent English, raising his voice mainly to chide US officials who have condemned President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) plan to hold a referendum on the nation's UN application in March.

"Is this country still the United States of America, or just a province of China?" he asked, before thanking the US government for issuing his band visas.

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