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Chinese censors tough to Rolling Stones

Written by: Staff
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SHANGHAI, Apr 7: Chinese censors have asked the Rolling Stones to exclude five of their racier numbers from their weekend concert in Shanghai, frontman Mick Jagger said but he didn't seem too upset.

''It's not really an issue,'' Jagger told a news conference yesterday ''But I'm pleased that the Ministry of Culture is protecting the morals of the expat bankers and their girlfriends.'' The British band are set to play their first-ever China gig today at the Shanghai Grand Stage, a relatively small venue with 8,500 seats, after a 2003 concert was cancelled amid Asia's SARS crisis.

''When we first applied to come here, the Ministry of Culture...asked us politely if we would consider not playing certain songs from the 'Forty Licks' album at the show,'' Jagger said.

''This time around, I was hoping that there would be no censorship issues... but then they came back with the same four songs they didn't want us to play and added another one.'' Before the 2003 performance was cancelled, promoters admitted the group would be banned from playing four songs, ''Honky Tonk Woman,'' ''Brown Sugar,'' ''Beast of Burden'' and ''Let's Spend the Night Together,'' due to lyrics that were deemed too risque for mild-mannered Chinese.

Jagger did not identify the fifth song.

The group's ''Forty Licks'' album was also cut to just 36 for the Chinese rendition to excise the four offending songs.

Despite a general easing of restrictions of late, China is still wary of media that push the envelope.

Last week, news emerged that US-based Rolling Stone magazine had been forced to suspend publishing in China after printing its first local edition.

Authorities said the magazine lacked proper licencing, but at least one publication speculated the censors may have been irked by articles on controversial political and social issues.

REUTERS

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