The Ministry of Culture recently published a list of songs, which according to a ministry notice, have not been properly approved for online distribution and ordered all websites to remove them.
The songs included Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga, Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce, and Burning Up by Britney Spears as well as several Chinese and Japanese pop singers.
The public may struggle to see this as anything but a political decision, but the main factor of confusion is that none of the songs contained obviously "stimulating" content.
In the notice, the ministry offered only a vague explanation that the listed songs had not met certain Internet cultural management regulations regarding censorship or filing.
The broadcast, listening and download services provided by some music websites without permission disturb the online music market, jeopardize the nation's cultural security and thus have to be regulated according to law.
There are many aspects of online cultural products that need to be well-regulated such as copyright and the spread of obscene content.
Maintaining public order from being perturbed by online information is also a concern of governments everywhere. But removing songs on the list is a bit beyond common sense.
This is the third such list by the Ministry of Culture on regulating the online music market. It is unclear whether the two previous ones had any consequences on the online market. In the absence of standards or consistency, websites might be left confused as to how to follow the instruction given the complexity of music reproduction regulation.
The ministry needs to come up with clearer and convincing explanations if its orders are to see wide support.
Right now, the response from the audience does not conform to the ministry's wishes. Instead of covering their ears, many people are curious to listen to these songs. A banning list thus becomes a promotion list.
Assuming that China's Communist Party isn't into Lady Gaga is far-fetched, and the list surely doesn't suggest a wider cultural censorship.
You just need to check online music sites to see and hear the truth.