(AFP) – Nov 24, 2008
SHANGHAI (AFP) — China's Internet censors appeared to be trying to block fans Monday from accessing websites related to Guns N' Roses' first album in 17 years, which is provocatively titled "Chinese Democracy".
However, Chinese Internet users were still able Monday morning to listen to the album's 14 songs on MySpace.com, the band's homepage remained accessible and bloggers were allowed to have their voices heard.
China's Ministry of Culture appeared to be immune to the global hype surrounding the album headed by Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose, 46, the only member of the band's original line-up involved in the recording.
"This is the first time we've heard about it," a ministry spokeswoman said, when asked about the album and reports that it had been banned in China.
"I don't know if they're banned or not," she said. "It might be a rumour."
The album's official website responded with a poll asking visitors if they thought the Chinese should be allowed to access it -- about 70 percent of respondents said yes.
Like critics' reviews, reaction from Chinese music fans has been mixed.
"I feel GNR has a mocking, misunderstanding and disdainful view of our country," an Internet user who identified herself as Tiffany in Guangzhou wrote on Douban.com, a pop culture social networking site.
But many participants suggested an angry knee-jerk reaction was unwarranted.
"You are judging it just from the album's name. Did you ever try to listen to it, understand it and think about it?" a male from Guiyang, calling himself Mr Lee, wrote on the same forum.
Another music fan appealed to Internet users to show more sophistication.
"Green Day could have an album named 'American Idiot', but if a band released an album named 'Chinese Idiot', whatever the content or motivation, Chinese patriots would be outraged," wrote Shippo7, a Beijing male.
Western rock critics have also shown little restraint.
Rolling Stone described the album as a "great, audacious, unhinged and uncompromising hard-rock record" but the New York Times said it was the "Titanic of rock albums: the ship, not the movie."
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