Cambodia: Of Sounds and Survival – Khmer music

28 October 2005

1975-1979 was a period of genocidal censorship throughout Cambodia – the music and musicians barely survived. Today, Khmer artistic cultures are in recovery   By Meredith Holmgren 1975-1979 marks a period when Cambodian citizens were ruled under a most violent and oppressive regime headed by the Communist Party of Kampuchea, …

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Malaysia: Black metal music under attack

28 October 2005

By Meredith Holmgren Malaysian authorities are once again targeting black metal as a source of satanic cult rituals. On 5 October 2005, Malaysian officials announced an investigation of “heavy metal cult” members, who they believe “practice animal sacrifices and destroy religious texts including the Koran” (AP, 6 October 2005). Many …

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Turkmenistan: Among world’s most repressive regimes, states RSF report

27 October 2005

“Turkmenistan tops the list of the world’s most repressive regimes,” says a report by Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans fronti The report is entitled “The 2005 World Press Freedom Index”. It ranks 167 countries according to criteria that includes every kind of violation affecting journalists – such as murders, imprisonment, …

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China: Ease of restrictions against mainland rock-father Cui Jian

27 September 2005

Cui Jian’s September concert in Beijing marks the end of a decade of censorship against his angry rap-inflected rock. The Chinese government shows an increased awareness of the commercial value of modern music  The 44-year-old singer and guitarist often referred to as “China’s Bob Dylan” or “China’s godfather of electric rock”, Cui …

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Turkmenistan: Ban on recorded music in all public places

26 August 2005

Turkmenistan’s president Saparmurat Niyazov has banned the playing of recorded music at all public events, on television and at weddings, saying he wants to protect Turkmen culture. BBC News reports.   In an attempt to protect Turkmen culture from “negative influences” and minimise foreign influence in the isolated former Soviet …

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China: authorities ban “unhealthy” and “reactionary” performances

9 August 2005

Stricter censorship on performances ‘Unhealthy performances are to be banned’, writes Xinhuanet,, on July 20, 2005 Cultural and art authorities in China will strictly ban 10 kinds of “unhealthy” and “reactionary” performances so as to make the art performance market develop in a healthy and orderly way. The regulation …

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China: Hong Kong pop star CoCo Lee’s new album banned

6 May 2005

When the singer known as “Asia’s Mariah Carey” launched her new album, it instantly attracted controversy with its sexy image and lyrics   CoCo Lee’s second English album, ‘Exposed’, was officially released in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China on the 25th of March 2005, after having been in the works …

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Aung Zaw: Music censorship in Myanmar / Burma

26 October 2004

Aung Zaw, journalist, member of the Freemuse Executive Committee Aung Zaw is from Myanmar/Burma and is the editor of The Irrawaddy, a magazine published in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Irrawaddy covers news and offers in-depth analysis of political and cultural affairs in Burma and Asia generally. This interview was conducted by Freemuse’s …

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China/Sweden: Kurash Sultan

19 October 2004

  21 July 1959 – 29 October 2006)   The Uighurs, an indigenous people in East Turkestan in north-western China, are struggling to keep their language and their culture. The Uighur composer, musician and poet Kurash Sultan, was imprisoned and tortured by the authorities in East Turkestand, and many of …

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