China Bans Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce Songs

Gaga Censored The Chinese government has declared a War on Divas. The country's Culture Ministry announced this week that Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry comprise a "threat to state culture." A newly released forbidden playlist includes 100 songs that download sites must remove within two weeks or face unspecified punishment. From the standpoint of a paranoid bureaucrat, I can understand banning Gaga's Judas for the Satanic themes and whatnot. But Hair? Edge of Glory? Seems strange. And it doesn't look like Government Hooker made the cut. 

But the most surprising revelation is the ban on the Backstreet Boys – specifically, their hit song from 12 years ago, I Want It That Way. Who knew that the Backstreet Boys are still relevant? 

For all the fretting about China as a rising superpower, the regime's abject fear of a 12-year-old Backstreet Boys ballad should indicate to us that the country is – to borrow a phrase from Mao – a paper tiger.

(For another example of the Chinese government's absurdity, check out the Culture Ministry's page dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. It would be funny if it weren't terrifying.)


  1. BobN says

    Whenever there’s an announcement like this, I wonder how big the kickback to the Culture Ministry is. Nothing boosts demand like a “No-No” stamp from the authorities.

  2. lessthan says

    I just want to point something out about Tibet, something that always gets lost in the outrage. Yes, China treats them terribly, but a “free Tibet” would see a return of the theocratic government that the Tibetans started with. It would probably be better than being under Chinese rule, but it wouldn’t be free.

    This Dalai Lama has used the same word twisting about homosexuality as the major Christian churches do. “Buddhism forbids any sexual intercourse other than penis/vagina penetration. Buddhist sexual proscriptions ban homosexual activity and heterosexual sex through orifices other than the vagina, including masturbation or other sexual activity with the hand… From a Buddhist point of view, lesbian and gay sex is generally considered sexual misconduct.”

  3. patrick lehman says

    I remember the Soviet Union issuing similar proclamations about decadent old Madonna in the 80’s. When the regime fell, it was a common storyline that their opposition to American culture, from Elvis and Marilyn Monroe to Levis, had made their own citizens crave more.

  4. Richard Farias says

    @ LessThan:

    The Tibetan government-in-exile is no longer theocratic. The Dalai Lama has stepped down as the secular head of state; the new head of state is essentially a Prime Minister appointed by the majority party in Parliament.

  5. jason says

    Has Towleroad forgotten how Lady Gaga censored the word “gay” from her performance of Born This Way on the Good Morning America program just 2 months ago? China might be censoring her songs but Lady Gaga has been removing the word “gay” as she sees fit.

  6. luminum says

    Maybe China just doesn’t like its citizens being called “Orient-made”. 😉

    And yes, that’s true about the censoring she allowed on Good Morning America. She also allowed it to be censored for the Glee: 3-D movie, too.

  7. simon says

    Dalai Lama about homosexuality : “Buddhism forbids any sexual intercourse other than penis/vagina penetration”
    Buddhism has many branches. It originated from India and spread to Tibet, China, Japan etc. Many different versions appeared during its history. Even Tibet itself has two different branches. Dalai Lama only speaks for his own branch. As a matter of fact, Buddhism as a philosophy speaks very little about worldly matters. He himself is a politician. Like other religions, Buddhism was also contaminated by politics.

  8. johnny says

    China MAY seem like a paper tiger… until a citizen is imprisoned for whatever charges they feel fit and then is stuck in prison for however long they decide, (perhaps for life) going through whatever torture and other deprivations they want to visit upon the poor citizen.

    Yes, they have some very silly laws, but consequences for breaking them are not so silly. Beware.

  9. Boothisman says

    hur dur, China’s a paper tiger. Tell that to Ai Wei Wei.

    They’ve identified (probably correctly) that this music is listened to by gay people, and that gay people tend to be individualistic, expressive, subversive. Thus, counter to state culture.

    China is scary, not harmless.

  10. says

    China is no paper dragon. They are over a billion people, cheap labor, and rising industry that is competing with other large nations. That they banned Gaga doesn’t mean jack, other than that you guys think pop culture is more important than it is.

  11. beisbyazhe says

    Lady Gaga、Katy Perry和Beyonce 是中国歌迷最喜欢的三个女歌手,一群独裁者,都一个国家的人民喜欢听什么音乐都要管制,这是何等悲哀,全世界的网友们,来鄙视我们吧,事实上我也鄙视我自己,生活在这样的国度,无能为力,任人宰割。

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