China targets pop songs in latest web crackdown

China’s ministry of culture has ordered music download sites to delete songs by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, the Backstreet Boys and other pop stars within two weeks or face punishment.

The ministry posted a list of 100 songs that had to be purged from the Chinese sites because they had never been submitted for mandatory government screening. The songs include Lady Gaga’s Judas and Perry’s Last Friday Night.

The ministry said the move was meant to preserve China’s “national cultural security”.

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Sites were told they had until 15 September to delete the songs. It said violators would be punished, but did not outline the penalties they would face. Foreign music acts receive special scrutiny in China after Icelandic singer Bjork shouted “Tibet!” during a 2008 gig in Shanghai after singing her hit Declare Independence.