Chinese rocker quits variety show after Tiananmen anthem is rejected
A controversial Chinese rocker has pulled out of a state broadcaster's variety show for the upcoming Lunar New Year after the organisers turned down his song choice - the unofficial anthem for demonstrating students during the deadly 1989 Tiananmen Square protests .
Cui Jian wanted to sing his 1986 song Nothing To My Name at China Central Television's January 30 gala show, but the event's censors told him he would have to choose another song.
Cui decided to quit the show because he did not want to sing another song, his manager, You You, said.
"It is not only our regret, but also the gala's," Mr You said. "Cui Jian has his fans all over the world so his stage is far beyond the CCTV's gala."
Cui fell out of favour 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 organisers to hire popular film director Feng Xiaogang to direct this year's gala.
Known as the godfather of Chinese rock, Cui won fame in the late 1980s with songs like Nothing To My Name, voicing the hopes and anxieties of a generation of Chinese entering adulthood after the death of Mao Tse-tung 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, Communist Party authorities refused Cui permission for concerts and censored his lyrics. In 2005 he was able to headline at a Beijing stadium and in 2006 he performed with the Rolling Stones in Shanghai, singing Wild Horses alongside Mick Jagger.
Many Chinese praised Cui, 52, for refusing to bow down to the censors.
"You are still so proud," Mongolian singer Daiqing Tana of the Beijing-based group Haya Band wrote on her microblog.
"You are the backbone and gall of this land. Your music is the hope and despair of this country."