Heavy metal band Metallica's concerts in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai had certain songs removed from their setlists due to China's censorship policies, reported the South China Morning Post.
Metallica frontman James Hetfield told the newspaper:
Why shouldn't you respect their culture when you're there as a guest and you've been invited to play? We want to be respectful, and just because we do things differently, it doesn't mean it should be forced upon [others]. But hopefully we'll keep coming
back and they'll realise we're not a threat politically and we have no agenda except to cross boundaries with music and let people enjoy the songs. We're not trying to bring a secret message to anybody.
India's gay community have celebrated a small victory over the film censors of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
India's censorship appeal board, the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has overturned 10s of cuts specified by the CBFC before granting a music video a U/A (PG) certificate. The video, Miss You by Friends of Linger, would otherwise by A
(18) rated which would bar the film from TV, which was the whole point of the video.
In a period of around ten minutes on 25th January, the FCAT watched the video, read the appeal, discussed it, posed a few questions and then said the appeal was successful.
The band's front man, Sharif Ranganekar, wrote:
The FCAT in effect turned this tiny song into a moment that could be viewed as a shift in acceptance of gay content in mainstream television. However small the shift might be, it could well be an indication of something bigger that many LGBTQs are
hoping for. If we place this against the backdrop of hostility, hate, right-wing politics and the patiently-awaited Supreme Court verdict, the FCAT's conclusion to overturn a CBFC order is not very small. It could be a precedent, a filmmaker out of
Mumbai told me. Some gay activists felt the occasion should be celebrated and the song performed at gay parties.
The video is probably the first of its kind in the Indian context. Two men in love, the love lost to marriage and the recollection of a relationship is what made this video a story to tell. When Manav Malvai, the director, showed me the story-board, I
was sure we had a sensitive script. But the CBFC thought otherwise. In response to our mid-September (2016) application, we received an A certificate. Of course, this meant that the video would never get to TV in India. I did not accept this and filed an
application seeking a review.
The CBFC returned with a UA with cuts response on October 21 . What the censors found objectionable was a ten-second shot of two men -- Pran Saikia and myself -- lying in bed only in shorts. Mind you, we were neither making love or even hugging
each other. It was a scene of separation and hardly intimate -- a word used by the CBFC.
By then, even sections of the press hinted that the CBFC was homophobic but this was denied. At that time, Miss You had become incidental to what was a larger issue of acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
Finally, after viewing the video, the FCAT showed a fairness that one hopes is reflective of a changing time. They used the word sensitive to describe the video, relevant for its content and the ten seconds that the CBFC had wanted cut as
intrinsic to the narrative.
Rapper Tiny Doo has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego and two police officers for what he claims was his unlawful arrest in July 2014 on gang conspiracy charges.
The charges were based on rap lyrics about shootings and gang activity featured on Tiny Doo's 2014 No Safety album. The rapper was imprisoned for seven months, but was released after a judge dismissed the charges.
Tiny Doo told ABC 10 News:
The prosecutor in my case admitted I wouldn't be charged if I sang love songs. As if creating art illustrating the impossible choices poverty presents my community and the magic of our survival isn't an act of love. My arrest and incarceration sent me a
clear sign that my government does not think I am worthy of First Amendment rights.
China has blacklisted 55 artists, mostly musicians, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have participated in pro-democracy movements or expressed political views that China deems objectionable.
Works by some pop artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan disappeared from Chinese major streaming services, reported Global Times.
One artist on the list, Hong Kong singer Denise Ho, started seeing her music disappear from Chinese streaming services in September 2016. Trouble began for the singer in 2014 when she joined the pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign in Hong Kong (also
known as the Umbrella Movement) and became the first celebrity to be arrested for her activism in the movement.
Taiwanese punk band Fire EX also made it on the list. The band had created songs for Taiwan's 2014 Sunflower Student Movement that protested a trade agreement with mainland China that protestors claimed would leave Taiwan economically vulnerable to
The blacklist also bans film directors and actors, eight Japanese artists, three US artists, one Australian band, one band from the Czech Republic, one Korean band, one Romanian band, and one Chinese band in exile. US punk band Strike Anywhere and
Japanese punk rock band Softball were both part of an annual concert in Taiwan that is known for its anti-China stance.