China censors the “Asian Grammys”

The “Asian Grammys” has been abruptly cut off by Chinese censors after a Taiwanese presenter made a political statement about the Hong Kong protests on stage.

Key points:

  • Beijing stopped Chinese sites live-streaming the awards when the presenter strayed into political territory
  • It was not the first time awards ceremonies have been censored in China for broadcasting ideas contrary to the Chinese Communist Party line
  • A group of Taiwanese musicians also protested, this time against “American imperialism”

Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards, which were livestreamed to millions of people across Asia on Saturday, was censored on Chinese live-streaming sites when presenter Jen Chiang-da said: “Hong Kong, add oil!”

The phrase “add oil” was added to the Oxford Dictionary last year and is used to express encouragement or support.

The comment appeared to spur on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, where organisers estimated up to 2 million people took to the streets to protest against a much-maligned extradition bill.

Mr Jen’s speech ventured further into political territory, tackling not just protests in Hong Kong but also the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

Mr Jen, the founder of independent label Crystal Records, made the comments as he was presenting an award for “special contribution” to the Blacklist Studio, a group of Taiwanese musicians who released a pro-democracy-themed album called Songs of Madness in 1989.

“In 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed, the June 4 Tiananmen Square incident [happened], Cheng Nan-jung sacrificed himself for democracy, and the Blacklist Studio released the Songs of Madness,” he said.

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