Chinese Government Censors Back On Their Karoake Song Banlist Bullshit

from the I'd-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing-government-approved-songs-only dept

The perpetual motion machine that is the Chinese government’s censorship arm rolls on. While China has embraced a particularly state-focused form of capitalism, it still engages in the sort of stuff long associated with the Chinese government, like mass censorship, government corruption, and the mass incarceration of undesirable citizens.

Taking a brief break from its strongarm takeover of Hong Kong — a project that’s running decades ahead of schedule — the government is (again) imposing its will on presumably drunken participants in the world’s worst party game, karaoke. (h/t Sarah McLaughlin)

China is set to ban karaoke songs that contain “illegal content”, its Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced.

Songs that fall under this category include those that endanger national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity.

Songs that aren’t sufficiently celebratory will apparently be whisked away to songwriting camps in order to infuse the lyrics with the appropriately pro-government sentiments.

Those who provide content to karaoke venues have been urged to review the songs and flag up to the ministry those that are potentially harmful.

Actually, it may be karaoke providers being whisked away if they’re not providing uplifting melodies celebrating the many triumphs of the Chinese government, each one more triumphant than the last. (But not so triumphant they overshadow past triumphs, lest citizens find themselves not celebrating their historic betters by singing along in a “what have you done for me lately” fashion.)

One of the many, many triumphs of the Chinese government is its past victories over the impetuousness of ineptly-sung versions of popular tunes. No doubt many new songs have been written about the Chinese government’s defeat of the old standby [squints at news report] “Fart.”

China has banned 120 songs from the Internet after deeming them “harmful” to society.


The offending titles – all Chinese songs – included “No Money No Friend,” “Don’t Want To Go To School,” and “One Night Stand.”

A popular MC Hotdog song, which includes the line ‘I don’t love Chinese women, I love Taiwanese girls’ was blacklisted, as was a song named “Fart” that included the lyrics: “There are some people in the world who like farting while doing nothing.”

As “Fart” goes, so goes the great nation. The new crackdown shifts culpability to karaoke content providers and away from venue operators. Given the expansive nature of some of these collections (upwards of 100,000 songs), the government felt it more appropriate to fine/jail/beat into submission those holding the songbooks, rather than those hosting the songbook-holders.

Incredibly ironically, the expanded ban targets songs that “incite ethnic hatred.” As has been reported multiple times, ethnic hatred is one of the things the Chinese government is really good at, so it seems somewhat self-defeating to discourage people from celebrating one of the government’s mainstays: the repeated oppression of its own citizens because of their religious beliefs.

Then there’s this, which would be completely comical if it weren’t coming from a government that defines the phrase “abuse of power.”

A central song list would be created by the ministry for karaoke venues…

It almost sounds like a fun job! The sort of job someone could do in five hours a week while collecting a 40-hour paycheck, troubled only by the occasional “investigative” trip to the local karaoke bar.

If nothing else, the new ban list will provide a bump for artists whose songs have been officially ostracized. Nothing calls attention to “unapproved” music like a list of unapproved songs for citizens to hunt down, listen to, and perhaps belt out into the nearest microphone.

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Comments on “Chinese Government Censors Back On Their Karoake Song Banlist Bullshit”

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Bobvious says:

I know who will be top of that list

If nothing else, the new ban list will provide a bump for artists whose songs have been officially ostracized. Nothing calls attention to "unapproved" music like a list of unapproved songs for citizens to hunt down, listen to, and perhaps belt out into the nearest microphone.

Don’t Rain on My Parade
Don’t Look at My House from the Air
I’m Gonna Shout About It
Hey You, Yes You, You Over There, Stop Looking At Me.

We’re Not Makin’ Love Anymore
Woman In Love
All I Ask Of You
Comin’ In And Out Of Your Life
What Kind Of Fool
The Main Event / Fight
Someone The I Used To Love
By The Way
The Way He Makes Me Feel

Anonymous Coward says:

"Karoake" ?

this funny Chinese "Karoake" term in the article title is actually interesting…

even if it might be a typo i think it better represents the twisted nature of a version of karaoke but with political speech restrictions rules… so i propose that Techdirt keeps it like that and start using it.

With enough use, i think it might become similar to "Chinglish", the Chinese version of English. =D

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