Kraftwerk banned from playing China, John Lydon asked for all his lyrics before being allowed in

China’s fast forward into the 21st century seems to be a bit of a bumpy ride.

The latest evidence of old school thinking has been the banning of Kraftwerk from playing a festival in China because they were scheduled to played a Freedom for Tibet concert in the USA a few years ago. As it happens, bad weather forced promoters to scrap the Tibet benefit concert and Kraftwerk didn’t play, but Chinese Ministry of Culture officials are clearly still a tad upset that the band was among those set to appear. The ban means Kraftwerk cannot perform at this year’s Strawberry Festival, scheduled for the end of April.

The Chinese authorities are still touchy about the issue and banned the group whilst in another incident rotten John Lydon was asked to send in all his lyrics for the authorities to check before being allowed in the country – this is fairly standard procedure but it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall at one these lyric approval meetings and in a weird way it’s quite heartening that someone still takes rock n roll seriously enough to actually ban pop bands from playing gigs…

Lydon told, “The Chinese Government asked me to send every lyric I have ever written, and they surprisingly approved me. They have either incredible good taste or they have no idea what I’m going on about. I can’t wait to find out.”

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  1. It’s more likely that they have no idea what you;re on about. Submitting lyrics is a formality, as it is here in Vietnam, but despite people thinking that bands get censored for this, it actually very rarely happens. They’re singing in English, and the authorities don’t give much of a shit about that, as long as it’s not directly aimed at them. Snoop Doog/lion got approved here, but then fell through. People reported that Dylan got censored… he didn’t. He’s not played Times They are A Changin for years, and it wasn’t in his set for playing China. The media made a story out of it. As far as China is concerned, the ‘Free Tibet’ thing obviously grates in China… but I remember Buju Banton having gigs cancelled in the UK because of gay rights protestors. Banton hadn’t performed ‘Boom Bye Bye’ for years, and has denounced the song on numerous occasions, stating it was written when he was young, naive and coming from a homophobic culture, before he had the opportunity to travel and wisen up.


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