Chinese rock star Cui Jian has scrapped plans to perform at a high-profile TV gala to ring in the Lunar New Year after censors rejected his choice of song. The singer had planned to hit the stage at the upcoming Spring Festival Gala for a rendition of his 1986 release Nothing to My Name, but state broadcasters at CCTV took issue with the tune, which was adopted as an unofficial anthem of the failed 1989 protests for democracy, and asked him to reconsider.
Cui refused and bowed out of the marathon variety show altogether.
His manager says, "It is not only our regret, but also the gala's. Cui Jian has his fans all over the world, so his stage is far beyond the CCTV's gala."
Cui has found himself in and out of favour with Chinese state officials since voicing his support for the Tiananmen Square democracy protesters in 1989, but his defiance with CCTV bosses has won him praise from fellow musicians, such as Mongolian singer Daiqing Tana, from the group Haya Band.
Taking to her blog to praise the rocker, she wrote, "You are the backbone and gall of this land. Your music is the hope and despair of this country."
The Spring Festival Gala is due to take place on 30 January (14). It will air on the CCTV network the following night to mark the Chinese New Year (31Jan14).