BEIJING – China’s state broadcaster has invited rock singer Cui Jian — an inspiration for 1980s prodemocracy protesters — to perform at its annual new year’s gala, his manager said Monday.
“We have some details we are working on” ahead of Cui’s possible appearance at the annual Spring Festival Gala on state broadcaster CCTV, which has an audience of hundreds of millions, his manager You You said.
Cui is dubbed the “father of rock” in China. He began recording in the 1980s, and his song “Nothing to My Name” became an unofficial anthem for the student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The demonstrations were brutally crushed by authorities, killing hundreds or thousands, and Cui, who had appeared alongside the protesters, was banned from performing large-scale concerts in the mainland.
But in more recent years, he has played to sizable audiences at music festivals in the country.
He maintains a low-key public persona but recently criticized young people in China for what he described as their indifference to politics.
“Most of the young people forget about politics,” he told the South China Morning Post newspaper in December. “Personally, I want to see rights, freedom of speech, but it’s a boring subject because everybody thinks it’s dangerous,” he added.
The glitzy new year gala is generally known for a mix of patriotic songs, comedy sketches and elaborate dance routines, and has displayed images glorifying top politicians and Communist Party slogans.
Peng Liyuan, the wife of China’s President Xi Jinping, was a regular performer on previous shows, and state-run media said the 2012 gala had a global audience of 1 billion people.