A Chinese rocker known for his rebellious style will not perform at a state broadcaster’s variety show for the upcoming Lunar New Year after the organizers turned down his song choice, his manager said.
Cui Jian (崔健) had proposed to sing his 1986 song Nothing To My Name at China Central Television’s Jan. 30 gala show, but the event’s censors told him he would have to choose another song, his manager, You You (尤尤), said late on Friday.
Nothing To My Name became the unofficial anthem for demonstrating students during the deadly 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
Cui decided to quit the show because he did not want to sing another song, You You added.
“It is not only our regret, but also the gala’s,” the manager said. “Cui Jian has his fans all over the world, so his stage is far beyond the CCTV’s gala,” he said.
The state broadcaster could not be reached immediately yesterday for comment.
Cui fell out of favor with the Chinese government after he sided with the Tiananmen protesters, but received an invitation this year from CCTV to perform at the annual show.
Since its inception in the early 1980s, the show has become a staple for the holiday celebrations, although it has become widely mocked for its cheesy performances and stilted staging, prompting organizers to hire popular film director Feng Xiaogang (馮小剛) to direct this year’s gala.
Known as the godfather of Chinese rock, Cui reached fame in the late 1980s with songs such as Nothing To My Name voicing the hopes and anxieties of a generation of Chinese entering adulthood after the death of Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and the end of orthodox communism.
During the 1989 pro-democracy protests, Cui performed at Tiananmen Square for students on a hunger strike, days before the government sent in tanks and troops to crack down on the demonstrations.
Later, Chinese Communist Party authorities refused Cui permission for concerts and censored his lyrics. In 2005, he was able to headline at a Beijing stadium.
In 2006, he performed with the Rolling Stones in Shanghai, singing Wild Horses alongside Mick Jagger.