Courtesy: George Chin
Guns N' Roses' 17-years in the making new album was released over the weekend to mixed reviews. Mixed, that is, everywhere but in China, where—despite the fact that Chinese Democracy is not yet legally on sale in the country—the national review was crystal clear.
The Global Times, China's Communist-run newspaper, published an article this morning declaring in no uncertain terms that Axl Rose's long-awaited release was not only unwelcome in the mainland, but more or less an attack on the nation.
Featuring the catchy title "American band releases album venomously attacking China," the newspaper said the album was an attempt by the western world to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn."
No wonder it took so long to complete.
The album, currently streaming on the band's MySpace page, "turns its spear point on China."
While a spokesman for China's Ministry of Culture said he were unaware of whether the album had been formally banned, it was reported that the China National Publications Import and Export Group, the state-owned entity responsible for music, told the nation's record shops not to expect shipments of Chinese Democracy.
The album's official website, chinesedemocracy.com, has already been blocked by Chinese censors, while Baidu, China's answer to Google, has censored searches for the album.
Tensions between the nation and the album's title began several years ago.
The title track refers to a Chinese meditation movement known as Falun Gong, a spiritual movement which was banned by Chinese authorities and classified as an illegal cult.
In its only acknowledgment of the growing furor, the band has posted a poll on its official site, asking whether the Chinese should be allowed access to their music.
So far, roughly 70 percent of voters think Chinese people deserve the right to hear the album. Meanwhile, nearly 25 percent of users don't care.