Beijing brushes off "Chinese Democracy"

Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:07am EST
 

BEIJING (Reuters) - China gave short shrift to rockers Guns N' Roses' controversial new album "Chinese Democracy" on Tuesday, saying the music was bad and that they were not that popular anyway.

The band's first album in 17 years was released on Sunday and its Geffen Records label has already said it thinks it unlikely to be approved for release in China.

"As far as I know, many people don't like this kind of music," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news briefing. "It's too noisy and clamorous."

Formed in California in 1985, the band has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and won many international music awards. Their 1987 hit single "Sweet Child o' Mine" is frequently voted one of the great rock tracks of all time.

But their new album has drawn a furious response from some Chinese Internet users, who accused the band of trying to stir up ill will against China. Others were more balanced.

"Forgive them, they haven't been on top of the world for hundreds of years. It's tough to avoid becoming outdated," said one post on popular Chinese web portal Mop.com (www.mop.com).

The album is currently 34th in the Billboard Hot 100, according to the music chart website (www.billboard.com).

In one song, singer Axl Rose refers to members of the spiritual group Falun Gong, banned in China as an evil cult.

The artwork includes Beijing artist Shi Lifeng's 2008 oil painting "Red Star," which depicts the powerlessness of Chinese people in a state ruled by an iron fist. Photos of the Chinese military and the Hong Kong skyline also appear.   Continued...

 
<p>Guns n Roses band member Axl Rose arrives for the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire, central England, June 11, 2006. REUTERS/Darren Staples</p>