Sing China’s Song Or Don’t Sing At All!

Customers in China of Apple Inc’s iTunes online music store were unable to download songs this week, and an activist group said Beijing was trying to block access to a new Tibet-themed album. Users of iTune complained they had been unable to download music since Monday, the day after the Art of Peace Foundation announced the release of “Songs for Tibet,” with music by Sting, Alanis Moritssette, Garbage and others and a 15 minute talk by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibet leader. Michael Wolf, director of the group, said “we issued a release saying that over 40(Olympic) athletes downloaded the album in an act of solidarity, and that’s what triggered it. Then everything got blocked.”

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology which regulates the Internet refused to make any comment which is the normal process when Beijing is doing something it wishes to avoid being transformed into a controversy. Wohl did send copies of the album to many athletes prior to their arrival in China. The Chinese government has yet to learn banning songs is the surest way to make them popular.