Civil Liberties

Moby Drives China Over the Edge


China has been working hard to maintain a delicate balancing act of putting on a nobody-here-but-us-freedom-loving-semi-capitalists act for the Olympic tourists and athletes, while keeping its citizens inside the cone of silence. And this week they finally cracked.

iTunes is blocked in many parts of the country today. And who drove China to distraction in the end? Why Moby and Alanis Morissette, of course. Singing about the Dalai Lama (or something) on the Songs for Tibet album just released on the site. On Monday, "the US-based Campaign for Tibet organisation claimed on its website that "over 40 Olympic athletes in North America, Europe and even Beijing" had downloaded the album." As usual, China offers a hilariously illogical explanation for its hugely disproportionate response to 40 downloads via its quasi-official news site:

Angry netizens [internet users] are rallying together to denounce Apple in offering Songs for Tibet for purchase. They have also expressed a wish to ban the album's singers and producers, most notably Sting, John Mayer and Dave Matthews, from entering China.

Gee, those angry Chinese netizens, they sure have a lot of power over China's Internet policy.

Of course, maybe the regime is right to freak out. Your people get ahold of a few good tunes, and the next thing you know, you might have a Singing Revolution on your hands.