Websites and searches related to the album were reportedly blocked throughout China after the album's release last month, and the government also told record distributors that they should not bother to order it. If it has "democracy" in the name, one official was quoted as saying, it's "not going to work" here. They are not too keen on one song's reference to the "Falun Gong" movement either, it turns out.
According to scattered reports from Chinese fans of the band ("Qiang Hua" in Chinese), they liked the music but had mixed feelings about Axl's apparent insistence on political reform.
"I feel GNR has a mocking, misunderstanding and disdainful view of our country," said one Internet poster, identified as "Tiffany." Shut up, Tiffany, responded "Mr. Lee": "You are judging it just from the album's name. Did you ever try to listen to it, understand it and think about it?" A third made another point that I haven't quite figured out yet: "Green Day could have an album named 'American Idiot,'" he wrote (and it does), "but if a band released an album named 'Chinese Idiot', whatever the content or motivation, Chinese patriots would be outraged."
Everybody might be reading just a bit too much into the political philosophy of Professor W. Axl Rose. He picked the name over ten years ago, and had this to say in 1999 as to why he chose it:
Well, there's a lot of Chinese democracy movements, and it's something that there's a lot of talk about, and it's something that will be nice to see. It could also just be like an ironic statement. I don't know, I just like the sound of it.
In this country, some other people liked the sound of it, too (the music, anyway), but not everybody. Rolling Stone liked it, and gave it 4 out of 5 stars. But the New York Times music critic called it "the Titanic of rock albums: the ship, not the movie."