China: Hip-hop group censored and detained
Chinese rap trio IN3 may never be able perform in Beijing after garnering the current unenviable status of having the top 17 spots in China’s list of 120 banned songs, according to the Daily Mail.
Due to the blacklist the Beijing-based group has had a difficult time finding venues to play, going as far as securing a gig 3,000 kilometres away from Beijing in Yunnan province. However, upon landing back in Beijing, “police boarded their flight to handcuff and hood them”, group member Jia Wei said.
Jia said the group was held on drug-related charges, but was released after a week when police had no evidence of him dealing drugs. Jia believes he and his group were held due to their music.
“I think we were taken in because of our songs,” Jia said. “We were locked into interrogation chairs and they kept the hood on us. The wanted to scare me.”
Some of IN3’s banned songs include ‘Hello Teacher’ and ‘Beijing Evening News’, numbers one and three on the blacklist respectively and comment on China’s education system and the capital city’s nightlife.
The Los Angeles times noted that many of the songs on the list were by hip-hip groups, suggesting that China “has turned its eye on subcultures that it previously deemed too small or marginal to warrant much interest”.
Stronger internet policies
The country’s ministry of culture initially published the blacklist in August 2015 and banned those listed songs from the internet for “trumpeting obscenity, violence, crime and harming social morality”, demanding that websites remove them within 15 days or face “severe punishment”.
CNET reported in November 2015 that China is set to enforce stronger internet regulations beginning January 2016, which state that “companies that provide or host music online must examine what’s being made available before it’s posted to ensure it’s appropriate for public consumption”.
Those same companies will need to also submit quarterly reports to the government detailing their efforts for vetting content, which not only includes songs, but music videos as well.
» Daily Mail – 31 December 2015:
Beijing, don’t kill my vibe, say banned Chinese rappers
» CNET – 10 November 2015:
China to scrub its Internet of songs deemed offensive
» Los Angeles Time – 11 August 2015:
Five songs the Chinese censors don’t want you to hear
» Freemuse.org – 12 August 2015:
China: 120 songs banned for promoting obscenity and violence