Thursday, October 16, 2014

Protests in Hong Kong; Chinese indie rock

CC Liu, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; AP; Sean Silbert, (
Pro-democracy demonstrators gather at a main road while police remove some barricades used to occupy Hong Kong's financial district, a key Asian financial center for more than two weeks, Oct. 13, 2014. Police took away unmanned metal barricades at the edges of the city's central financial district ahead of rush hour (AP/
The Buddha at Hat Yai, Hong Kong (Benjamin Tan/, collage of thumbnails)
Tian Tan Buddha at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, HK (Robert Montgomery/rmonty119/flickr)

Hong Kong
Police remove barricades that protesters set up to block off main roads in the central financial district of Hong Kong and a tunnel on Oct. 14, 2014 (Vincent Yu/AP).
  • VIDEO: Hong Kong chief now open to talks with protesters: (AP, Oct. 16, 2014) HK's chief executive, Leung Chun-Ying, announced today that he has invited rebel leaders of the pro-democracy demonstrations to discuss demands for universal voting rights [after police violence was caught on video as police dragged away a demonstrator and beat him].
"Refuse the shadow of the past" - Occupy Hong Kong, Oct. 16, 2014 (AP video still).
HK police break barricades, beat protesters
People wearing masks remove metal barricades protesters set up to block off main roads near the heart of Hong Kong's financial district, Oct. 13, 2014. A crowd tried to charge barricades used by demonstratorss to occupy part of downtown HK as a standoff with authorities dragged into a third week (AP).
HK protesters boost barricades after clash
Several long-occupied Hong Kong roads were reopened in Admiralty and Causeway Bay. Crowds blockaded Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper, which openly supports the pro-democracy protests.

Hundreds of [Chinese] police used chain saws and other power tools Tuesday to remove barricades set up by Hong Kong protesters, continuing the government’s slow squeeze on the pro-democracy demonstrations that that have blocked some streets [in the financial heart of Hong Kong as the activism continues] for more than two weeks.
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Several long-occupied roadways were reopened Tuesday in the Admiralty and Causeway Bay districts, but protesters were still massed around government headquarters in Admiralty and holding out in the dense commercial district of Mong Kok. More
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Chinese Indie Rock in New York and China
Sean Silbert, Los Angeles Times
Music firm brings Chinese indie rock groups to U.S. audiences
Music firm brings Chinese indie rock groups to U.S. audiences. Lead singer Liang Long of Second Hand Rose performs Oct. 5 at the Modern Sky Festival in New York's Central Park. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images).
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We have rock 'n roll in Asia
Modern Sky, the music firm behind a recent New York concert, thinks Chinese indie rock can resonate globally. China's music business has greatly expanded since the 1970s.
In a country where the vast majority of pop music acts still seem prepackaged for the karaoke machine and syrupy anthems dominate the airwaves, China's three-day Strawberry Music Festival and smaller Modern Sky Festival are can't-miss affairs for mainland hipsters.
Second Hand Rose
Yao Lan (guitar) and Jeroen Groenewegen-Lau of the band Second Hand Rose perform Oct. 5 at the Modern Sky Festival in NY's Central Park (Timoth A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images).
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The festivals, featuring indie artists playing such genres as death metal and pop, have become a "rite of passage" since they started seven years ago, says Archie Hamilton of the Chinese music promotion agency company Split Works. For the hundreds of thousands of hip Chinese youths who attended the festivals last year, "it's something you're supposed to do."

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The events are just two of 20 music festivals put on each year in China by Modern Sky Entertainment Ltd., the country's largest independent record label. The company was founded in 1997 by rock singer turned entrepreneur Shen Lihui, who has developed it into a music powerhouse that also stretches into publishing, fashion, and art.
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Now Shen is turning his attention stateside. He kicked off the Modern Sky Festival in New York this month, a U.S. version of the kind of festivals he holds in China.

More than 6,500 people attended the concerts in Central Park, which paired Western indie stars Cat Power, Stars, Ted Leo, and Aimee Mann with Chinese bands including Rebuilding the Rights of Statues, Queen Sea Big Shark, and Second Hand Rose.
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The mixed bill was an acknowledgment of the challenge of selling Chinese-language music to America. But Modern Sky thinks Chinese indie rock can resonate globally -- and hopes the artists can present an image of China beyond the headlines.

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"Actually, I don't think rock music has boundaries," said Shen, kicking his designer sneakers up on his cluttered desk in Beijing. More 
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