Apple Music China removes song by Hong Kong star due to association with Tian'anmen Square

'Ren Jian Dao' recently disappeared from a number of music streaming services in China

Hong Kong pop icon Jacky Cheung

Hong Kong pop icon Jacky Cheung (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan news) — A song by Hong Kong pop icon Jacky Cheung (張學友) has been pulled from Apple Music in China due to its association with the Tian’anmen Square Massacre.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 democracy movement, which resulted in Chinese troops opened firing on student protestors, killing and wounding thousands.

Internet users in China have pointed out a song that has come to be associated with the event recently disappeared from several music streaming platforms, according to CNA.

The song, titled Ren Jian Dao (人間道), was originally track six on Cheung’s 1989 album Mun Zhong Di Ni (夢中的你), and featured on his 1995 compilation Zhen Ai (真愛). A screenshot of Mun Zhong Di Ni on Apple Music’s China service shows the album now skips from track five straight to track seven.

Apple Music China removes song by Hong Kong star due to association with Tian'anmen Square
The song, originally track six on Cheung's 1990 album, has completely disappeared (CNA screenshot of Apple Music China)

Ren Jian Dao is still available on other regional versions of the streaming platform, including the Taiwan app, indicating the song was not removed for rights-related reasons.

Other mainstream music services in China have also removed the song from their catalogs, CNA reports.

Ren Jian Dao was composed by late famous musician James Wong (黃霑). Due to its lyrical content and its release date, which coincided with the year of the Tian’anmen Square Massacre, it is often viewed as a metaphor for the event.

Some of the lyrics include, “How did the rivers and mountains become a sea of blood?” and, “How did the road to home become the road to ruin?”

The song featured in the 1990 movie A Chinese Ghost Story II, which is also regarded as a metaphor for the political situation in Hong Kong at the time.

China’s censorship machine prohibits social media users from mentioning the Tian’anmen Square incident. As the event’s 29th anniversary approached last year, thousand’s of censors were deployed to scour the web and erase any trace of reference to the killings.

Updated : 2021-01-27 13:24 GMT+08:00