Chinese have an Axl to grind over 'venomous' Guns N' Roses album

 

GIVEN THE title, it was hardly surprising that it would cause controversy but few had thought rockers Guns N' Roses's latest, long-awaited album Chinese Democracy would cause such a stir in China, where it has been described as "venomous".

The album "turns its spear point on China" ran an irate article in the Global Times, published by the ruling communist party, while some webizens described the record as part of a plot by some in the West to "grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn".

"A group of silly singers, singing bad songs. Their thinking is chaos. I have to say it is totally the status quo in the United States," wrote one Chinese internet user on the Global Times site.

Others didn't know who Guns N' Roses were but weren't about to let that get in the way of a bit of public anger.

"What kind of band is this? I have never heard of it before. But as a Chinese, I cannot stand for this. I cannot be humiliated. This is our country. Nobody can insult it," wrote one Liaoning resident on the 163.com forum.

Also raising hackles is the fact that the title track on the album refers to the banned religious sect the Falun Gong, with the incendiary words: "If your Great Wall rocks, blame yourself."

It was still possible to download the title track yesterday, even though it is reportedly banned in China.

Costing millions of dollars and the careers of several record industry executives, Chinese Democracy was known as the most expensive record never made because of its long genesis.

It is the group's first album since their 1993 collection of punk covers, "The Spaghetti Incident?" while singer Axl Rose is the band's only original member.

Trying to access the website for the record, www.chinesedemocracy.com, doesn't work in China, though that might be because of the coincidental use of "Chinese" and "democracy" in the same search term. It still possible to access the album on YouTube.

Another web user warned of the dangers of real-life Chinese democracy.

"In a society lacking a legal system and where people are still at a lower education level, establishing democracy will lead to chaos, just like in Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

"There would be ongoing conflicts, then social stagnation."

Chinese people are not massively interested in Western pop music, with the notable exception of Kenny G. Indie singers are popular with young people, although Icelandic singer Bjork's call for Tibetan independence last year caused outrage.

Most fans will pick up a pirate copy of the CD.