Cui Jian: Extolling Idealism Yet Advocating for Freedom Through Rock Music in China

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016


Examining Cui Jian's songs as text, this study attempted to provide a reading of its political meaning that is different from many previous studies. Through a textual analysis of the revolutionary symbols in four of Cui's hits, this study found that the political meaning of Cui's songs is much more nuanced than a simple oppositional message, as he simultaneously endorses the Communist rule for its idealism and disavows it for its political suppression. Being China's first rocker, Cui Jian is politicized by the social discourse surrounding him as well as his own expressions, as he pursues his idealism and identity in the particular political and social context of China.

Publication Information

International Communication Research Journal

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