China Bars Six Lady Gaga Hits to Preserve “National Cultural Security”

By Kenna McHugh 

China’s Ministry of Culture has thrown its red book at music download sites in its country. They are ordering music sites to delete songs by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, the Backstreet Boys and other pop stars within two weeks or face some sort of punishment.

The ministry declared a list of 100 songs, such as Lady Gaga’s “Judas” and Perry’s “Last Friday Night” to be purged from Chinese web sites. The government’s reasoning behind the censure is they had never been submitted for mandatory government screening.

A total of six Lady Gaga songs were placed on the list, all from her latest album. The 12-year-old ballad “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys is on the list as well. But, China is not just targeting pop culture songs. Dozens of Hong Kong and Taiwanese pop songs and a few Western hits are on the list, too.

The ministry said the rule was meant to preserve China’s “national cultural security”.

Sites were told on August 19, 2011 of the declaration on the ministry’s website. It told them that they had until September 15, 2011 to carry out “self correction” and delete the songs. If they do not delete the songs, Violators will be punished. But, the ministry did not outline the penalties they would face.

It should be made clear that China didn’t say that the listed songs were unacceptable. They just have not been approved for distribution. The Chinese government prudently screens the content of imported material for political messages or remarks that renders contrary to its official line.

I find it very interesting that the Backstreet Boys’ 12-year-old ballad is being scrutinized by the Chinese government. One would think that the song could be grandfathered in and not go through the process of being of being approved by the Chinese government.