Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

China: Roses album is 'venomous'

Axl Rose in 2002
Chinese Democracy is the band's first album in 15 years

China has dismissed the new Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, as a "venomous attack" on the nation.

An article in the Global Times, published by the ruling communist party, says the album, launched this week, "turns its spear point on China".

The title track of the album, which has not been released in China because of the sensitive material, refers to the banned Falun Gong spiritual group.

The album's official website has also been blocked in China.

Chinese Democracy is the band's first album since their covers collection The Spaghetti Incident? in 1993.

Pirate copies

On the title track, lead singer Axl Rose sings: "If your great wall rocks, blame yourself."

Artwork for the album includes the oil painting Red Star by Beijing artist Shi Lifeng - which depicts Chinese people as powerless.

According to my knowledge, a lot of people don't like this kind of music because it's too noisy and too loud
Government spokesman Qin Gang

Photographs of the Chinese military and the Hong Kong skyline also feature in the artwork.

When asked about the record, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told the BBC's James Reynolds: "According to my knowledge, a lot of people don't like this kind of music because it's too noisy and too loud."

China frequently bans the release of foreign films and albums, although they often appear in pirated form and are sold in shops and by street vendors.

Bjork landed herself in hot water with Chinese authorities

Live performances are also closely monitored with artists forced to supply set lists for approval in advance.

In July, the Chinese government said that any foreign entertainers who had attended events threatening "national sovereignty" would be banned from the country.

The ministry of culture said that any artists that "whip up ethnic hatred" during shows would also be banned.

The announcement came after Bjork shouted "Tibet, Tibet" at a Shanghai concert in March.

Any talk of Tibetan independence is considered taboo in China, which has ruled the territory for more than 50 years.

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