Red Karaoke Only, Please

In what for many Chinese is a worrying turn back to the painful pre-reform era of Communist Party rule, the propaganda department of the municipality of Chongqing is now mobilizing residents to sing the “red songs” of the Maoist days [more from the WSJ]. The move is part of a new ideological and “spiritual” campaign by Chongqing’s top leader, Bo Xilai (薄熙来). Chongqing has also lately been the focus of concern for apparent steps back on rule of law. In this cartoon, posted by artist Kuang Biao (邝飚) to his QQ blog and available at the Southern Metropolis Daily website, a group of party-goers apparently consisting of both Chinese and foreigners attempt to sing a popular love song by the famous Taiwanese singer “Julie”, or Su Rui (苏芮) [listen here], in a private karaoke room in China, but as the man dancing on the table attempts to sing, the microphone turns into a hand and clasps his mouth shut. A notice on the television screen reads: “This song is prohibited and cannot be sung.” The caption conveys the words of the blond sitting to the singer’s left and clasping the song menu: “If we can’t sing ”, then why don’t we just sing red songs from now on, like the Chinese National Anthem?”

2 Comments to “Red Karaoke Only, Please”

  1. ltlee says:

    If mobilizing residents to sing the “red song” is turning back to the Maoist, then mobilizing residents for a Shakespeare Festival in Britain is turning back to the happier era of Divine Rule by Kings and Queens.

    When did arts cease to be arts?

  2. Bruce Humes says:

    It’s interesting to hear about “Red Karaoke” in Chongqing and I look forward to updates! But as I point out on my blog, the banning of Su Rui’s “Holding Hands” (牵手) is unrelated to the political correctness of the lyrics. The authorities are upset about the video itself, which includes a brief shot — a few seconds, I’d estimate — of Taiwan’s ex-president Chen Shuibian delicately lifting his paralyzed wife out of her wheelchair.

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