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Taiwanese singer outraged by China changing song lyrics

Censors change 'sky is dirty' to 'sky is clear' for Cheng Chih-hua's hit 'Star Lighting'

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Cheng Chih-hua (left) and Cyndi Wang. (Weibo photos)

Cheng Chih-hua (left) and Cyndi Wang. (Weibo photos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese singer Cheng Chih-hua (鄭智化) on Sunday (July 3) said he was outraged that the lyrics to his song have been modified for a Chinese TV show.

On his Weibo account, Cheng wrote that he was "shocked, outraged, and regretful" that some of the lyrics to his song "Star Lighting" had been changed. Cheng's post was in response to the modification of the song's lyrics for a recent group performance on Hunan Television.

The group rendition of "Star Lighting" was led by Taiwanese singer Cyndi Wang (王心凌) and included Charlene Choi (蔡卓妍) and Gillian Chung (鍾欣潼) from the Cantopop group Twins, among other artists. In the show, the lyrics, "The sky is now dirty, and the stars in the civilized sky can no longer be seen," were changed to, "The sky is now clear, and the stars in the civilized sky can always be seen," reported SET News.

Taiwanese singer outraged by China changing song lyrics
Cyndi Wang (center) during performance of "Star Lighting." (Weibo photo)

The song was released in 1992 and intended as social commentary on Taiwan's societal issues at the time. Asked why Chinese authorities had suddenly censored a 30-year-old song, Wang Chih-sheng (王智盛), Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Elite Interchange Association, told FTV News that recent unrest by the public has prompted the Chinese Communist Party to take a heavy-handed approach at suppressing dissent, including focusing on song lyrics.

Such is the sensitivity of Chinese censors, that a seemingly innocuous video released by singer Jacky Cheung (張學友) congratulating Hong Kong on the 25th anniversary of its handover from the U.K. to China was scrubbed over his use of the phrase "Hong Kong add oil" and lack of references to "motherland" or "return."

Although Cheng, 60, achieved his greatest success in the late 1980s and early '90s in Taiwan and China, his songs from that era are still popular in both countries today.