Singer Cui Jian - known as the godfather of Chinese rock – has refused to sing at the state broadcaster's variety show for the lunar new year.
He quit because he was not allowed to sing his 1986 song, Nothing to My Name.
That song became the unofficial anthem of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protesters. His performance was to take place at China Central Television's gala show on January 30. The censors of the gala evening told him that he would have to to pick another song.
During the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, Cui sang at Tiananmen Square for hunger-striking students, shortly before the government tanks rolled in and lives were lost. Subsequently, communist authorities refused permission for Cui to perform concerts and his lyrics were censored. But the singer either became acceptable to the state or at least was tolerated once again. In 2005, he topped the bill at a mammoth stadium concert in Beijing. In 2006, he sang Wild Horses with Mick Jagger when The Rolling Stones played Shanghai.
His manager has expressed regret about Cui Jian’s decision. "It is not only our regret, but also the gala's. Cui Jian has his fans all over the world, so his stage is far beyond the CCTV's gala. " However, many admire the 52- year old singer for refusing to kowtow to the authorities.
"You are still so proud," Beijing-based Mongolian singer Daiqing Tana wrote on her microblog. "You are the backbone and gall of this land. Your music is the hope and despair of this country."