What's happened to the Rolling Stones?
Mick, Keef and the boys used to be the paradigm of rock and roll rebellion. Now look at them - shilling for a mortgage company and playing ball with the Red Menace. I guess maybe they "grew up." Or, "sold out."
Like Google and Yahoo, the Stones are so eager to gain access to China that they're willing to go along with Beijing's oppressive dictates.
For the legendary group, it's agreeing to chop a few of their most suggestive - and popular - songs from their live set, lest impressionable Chinese be corrupted by their decadent Western licentiousness. (They were under no such resrictions in Hong Kong a while back.)
China is a powerful country, and I have no wish to be on their bad side. But I've never been comfortable with the way we all seem to pretend that China's just like any other country. Tianamen Square may have faded fast like most news items, but it's still fresh in my mind.
The short story is, while China is taking on some traits of a "free" market, it's also the country with scores of abandoned baby girls, who are the victims both of the country's "one child policy" and of overly selective parents.
It's a country of Draconian laws, where trading porn can get you life in prison, and fraud can get you the death penalty (Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are lucky to live in a country where this crime gets you a slap on the wrist, or sometimes a pat on the back).
Then there are those unfortunate dietary choices, which I won't go any further into.
So, I guess where the Stones may understandably not want to deprive a country's citizens of their music because of some disagreeable political policies (and also deprive themselves of hard-earned yuans), I can find no sympathy for the devil of an autocratic Chinese government.
I do sympathize with ordinary Chinese, who should be able to freely enjoy the Stones' music.
In the 80s it was the right thing not to play Sun City. I'm not so sure it's yet time to play the Forbidden City.