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Ministry denies ban on unlucky song lyrics

By Xu Chi  (Shanghai Daily)

10:29, November 01, 2012

A Ministry of Culture official said they have tightened censorship of songs but denied an online report saying they banned "unlucky" words such as "death" in songs.

The rumor was spread after Chinese pop music producer and songwriter Gao Xiaosong complained on Weibo on Sunday that due to the current tightened music censorship, songs to be broadcast by major TV stations cannot contain unlucky words.

Gao wrote that he has seen with his own eyes that a singer performing a popular Chinese song, "Love Beyond Death," was deleted because the song contains the word death.

That portion of his microblog had been forwarded more than 50,000 times by yesterday, with upset music lovers figuring out a new name for the popular song to help it survive the censorship.

Thousands of new names for the song were suggested, such as "Love Beyond Heaven," "Love Beyond The Tomb," "Love Beyond Harmonious Afterlife," or even "Love Beyond The Fact That You Are Resting in Peace."

Some Internet users complained that such censorship is meaningless and might damage the growth of the Chinese music industry.

In response, an official with the Ministry of Culture told Zhengzhou Evening News, which is based in Henan Province, that they have indeed tightened music censorship but they were not banning words as the online report said.

"The censorship could be strict but it is not that strict to ban such words as death," the newspaper quoted the official as saying. "The censorship will only be tougher in viewing songs' contents."

The official, whose named was not disclosed, said that some songs have been banned not because of their contents or wording, but because they are not properly registered.

A record company worker told the newspaper that music censorship is a very complicated process in China.

The worker said each song of an album has to be reviewed by 40 to 50 experts under the culture ministry. If one of the experts said no to a certain song, then it cannot get past the censorship, the worker told the newspaper.

"It is very common that a song has to be reviewed for over one month. Sometimes we have to wait for several months before it gets the green light," the worker was quoted.

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