Edinburgh Military Tattoo is in the firing line over its invitation to a Chinese band and dancers A row has broken out in Britain over an invitation to a People's Liberation Army band and dance troupe to perform at one of the world's most famous military parades. Despite having featured army bands from every corner of the globe, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland is experiencing one of the worst controversies in its 50-year history. A storm of criticism has come from religious and pressure groups, who accuse the PLA of human rights abuses on the mainland. The PLA's visit to the Scottish capital this year has even been the subject of fiery debate among members of the Scottish parliament. However, the man in charge of the military showcase says the show will go on - and the 50 PLA musicians and a 30-strong Beijing dance troupe will definitely be a part of it. Questions over the row put to the PLA garrison in Hong Kong were not answered, but Brigadier Melville Jameson, the event's chief executive and producer, told the Sunday Morning Post the choice of participants ultimately rested with him, not politicians and protesters. Running for three weeks each summer, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo features military marching bands, parade drill teams and fireworks displays. The event is watched by more than 100 million people worldwide on television. Preparations for the PLA's visit have been two years in the making, but it was not until the band's place in the Tattoo's programme lineup was unveiled that objections were raised. 'I respect the views of the various different movements ... but I firmly believe that this cultural and musical exchange with China is going to be beneficial for all concerned and I'm very much looking forward to welcoming the band and the dancers to Scotland,' Brigadier Jameson said. He said music transcended political boundaries, and cultural exchanges would improve China's human rights record in the long run. 'Exchanges with China are hopefully going to bring China around to the western way of thinking. Holding out the hand of friendship is going to be beneficial in the long term and China probably appreciates any friendship shown by western countries,' Brigadier Jameson said. He added that the time was right to invite the PLA musicians, who have also played at a festival in Bremen, Germany, for the past three years. 'We've seen prime ministerial visits, we've seen high-level visits by military officers between China and Britain, and the Ministry of Defence is helping the PLA with peacekeeping training ... so I thought it was time to invite the Chinese to attend on a musical and cultural basis,' he said. Objections to the touring party were raised on both sides of the Scottish parliament last week, with one politician accusing the parade organisers of insensitivity. 'I'm all for cultural exchanges to break down barriers, but this particular choice is insensitive and naive,' said Conservative member Brian Monteith. 'The invitation should never have happened.' Labour member Mike Watson said it was impossible to ignore the political overtones of what was ostensibly a cultural exchange. 'I think it's somewhat disingenuous of the Tattoo people to say these are only artists,' he said. 'These are members of the People's Liberation Army.' Followers of the Falun Gong movement in Britain have announced plans to stage protests at the Tattoo. Regardless of the controversy, the popularity of an event that attracts tourists from around the world appears undiminished. Most of the 217,000 tickets for the 23 shows starting on August 6 are sold out already.