As the severe response to Hong Kong’s Occupy protests continue to rouse jingoistic tensions, an unlikely celebrity’s name rings out among the cacophonous crowds and media frenzy:
Yep. That Kenny G. The smooth jazz superstar and curly-lock-ed god has been under fire for posing with awe-struck fans at the pro-democracy protests and making pleas for global peace and understanding on his Twitter (that have since been deleted.) The musician is inexplicably popular in China, where his song “Going Home” is a ubiquitous melody haunting malls, markets, banquets, and restaurants, shepherding the masses out the door at closing time.
While the Chinese public is yet to turn on their beloved Kenny G (oh the comedy that would ensue if people protested Kenny G… for attending a protest), mainland China’s response was disharmonious to say the least. With the recent ban on several musicians from making mainland appearances after voicing support for the protests, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman for mainland China, Hua Chunying, said at a daily news briefing:
“Kenny G’s musical works are widely popular in China, but China’s position on the illegal Occupy Central activities in Hong Kong is very clear. We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form.”
Backtracking like crazy, Kenny G has released several tweets disavowing his connection with the Occupy protests, literally stating, “I don’t support the demonstrators.” His pro-China tweets are riddled with confusing misspellings, but the message is clear:
I only wanted to share my wish for peace for Hong Kong and for all of China as I feel close to and care about China very much
— Kenny G (@officialkennyg) October 22, 2014
Instead of villainizing the saxophonist, the central Chinese government should be thanking him. A live concert of “Going Home” could potentially confuse Hong Kong’s protestors. They would disperse and the now four-week long protest would end, and the mainland Chinese government would hail their hero Kenny G, harbinger of political stability for the People’s Republic of China.
By Briel Waxman