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Sax and the City: Kenny G hits sour note in China with Hong Kong visit

In this May 14, 2010 file photo, Kenny G, smooth jazz saxophonist, performs during a media event announcing his concert, in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

BEIJING: Best-selling U.S. jazz musician Kenny G struck a bum note in China on Wednesday when he appeared among Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters, prompting the country's foreign ministry to warn foreigners once again to keep their noses out.

The saxophonist, whose real name is Kenny Gorelick, confirmed he had visited after pictures of him appeared on Twitter.

"In Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation," he wrote on his official account.

Hong Kong students and Occupy Central protesters have taken to the streets of the former British colony for nearly a month pushing for wider democracy. The city returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China's foreign ministry, which has expressed repeated dissatisfaction about what it sees as foreign interference in an internal issue, said it did not know any details about Gorelick's visit.

"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," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

"We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support the Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form," she added.

Gorelick, who played at President Bill Clinton's inaugural ball, is wildly popular in China, and he played four concerts there last month, including in the capital Beijing.

Despite hosting a raft of high-profile foreign acts in recent years, including the Rolling Stones and the late James Brown, China takes pains to ensure concerts and their performers are politically correct.

In 2008, Icelandic singer Bjork's pro-Tibet outburst at a Shanghai concert infuriated Beijing, which immediately launched a crackdown to tighten controls on foreign singers performing in China.

China banned Taiwan pop star Chang Hui-mei for a year after she sang the self-ruled island's anthem at anti-China President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration in 2000. China considers Taiwan sovereign territory.

 

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