Ministry says pop must get approval
About 100 pop songs were ordered pulled from download websites not, according to mainland culture authorities, because of censorship but because the music did not go through 'official approval procedures'.
The Ministry of Culture earlier told the sites they had until September 15 to delete the blacklisted songs - including tracks by Hong Kong, Taiwanese and overseas artists such as Lady Gaga - or face punishment.
Yesterday Xinhua reported an unnamed ministry official as saying: 'The websites are ordered to clean up the music products because the products have not gone through official approval procedures.
'It does not mean the songs are banned because of their content.
'The ministry will continue to clean up online music products that fail to receive official approval.'
According to Xinhua, mainland websites must be licensed by the government before offering online music, and imported music products must be approved by the ministry before entering the market.
A ministry statement dated August 19 said the rule was meant to preserve 'national cultural security'.
Six Lady Gaga songs were on the list, all from her latest album. The 12-year-old ballad I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys was also targeted. Dozens of Hong Kong and Taiwanese pop songs and a few other Western hits were listed as well.
The list includes Yi Yi, by Hong Kong'a Ella Koon Yu-na, and Taiwan's Chang Hui-mei, better known as A-mei. Beijing temporarily banned Chang from mainland performances and pulled her product advertisements, to punish the Taiwanese aboriginal for singing Taiwan's anthem at the 2000 inauguration of former president Chen Shui-bian.
The ministry said it had this year called on website bosses to carry out 'self-inspection and self-correction' and delete the songs.