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6 Songs That China Banned Because They Were Too "Immoral"

Among the banned songs are such classics as “3 2 1 I'm Sorry,” "I'm Going To School," "Those Who Get Rooms Together Aren't Always Couples," and "Fart."

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China's Ministry of Culture on Monday swore to punish websites that don't obey their order to delete 120 newly banned songs. The blacklisted music, it said, promotes "obscenity, violence, insubordination, or immorality."

While the lyrics look to be the problematic part of most of the banned songs, we haven't seen any sign of banning the lyrics themselves. (You can still easily find them on Chinese websites such as Quora-like site Zhihu.)

It's already impossible, though, to find the songs on popular Chinese music apps such as Netease Cloud Music. (Thanks to China's cutting-edge piracy industry, we are confident that it won't take too long for hardcore Chinese music fans to put them back up.)

But on Sina Weibo, the list of the banned songs is being widely circulated, giving the singers another round of exposure and bringing mainstream attention to underground folk/rock music.

While there are indeed some problematic songs on the list — including some that promote self-harm or acts that we won't type out here — that are worth bleeping, some are really pretty decent, based on an extensive BuzzFeed News investigation. With that in mind, we present the ones that we actually enjoyed, for you to get a taste of the music China doesn't want people to listen to.

1. Zhao Lei, "Bite The Spring"

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Sample lyric

"The bed is making noise / Who's on top of breathless whom / Oh don't waste your time in your bed oh"

Why was it banned

This one we don't really get it, it's such a positive song urging people not to waste time in bed, isn't it? ...Isn't it?

Our rating: 🎸🎸

2. In 3, "Beijing Evening News"

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Sample lyric

"Beijing Evening News, some run ads looking for partner, in fact they are just bragging and looking for sex / Beijing Evening News, some sleep in underground passage while some get the country's refund for all the meals and drinks"

Why was it banned

The song is pretty cynical, which we guess you can't really be in China, at least not in public.

Our rating: 🎸🎸

3. C.K. Shen Ke, "Fly To Other People's Bed"

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Sample lyric

"Baby why has this happened? We can't sleep together anymore / How am I supposed to pass long nights? / You have your own rights / But how can I stop you from flying to other people's bed?"

Why was it banned

OK, so we get it — it's not yet the time to talk about sex in China. Such a pity because we were almost singing along despite listening to it for the first time.

Our rating: 🎸🎸🎸

4. Li Zhi, "THEY"

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Sample lyric

"Comrade Sun Yet-sen, Doctor Mao Runzhi, A-bian has nothing to do / Eyes close just accept it, eyes open just put up with it, what a wonderful life."

Why was it banned

We failed to find anything in the lyrics that falls into the category of "obscenity, violence, subornation" or "immorality." But it does look like the singer Li Zhi — one of the most popular indie rock singers from the mainland — crossed the line of political criticism by mentioning the original name of the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, and a former president of Taiwan.

Our rating: 🎸🎸🎸🎸

5. MC HotDog, "I Love Taiwanese Girls"

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Sample lyric

"I don't love Miss China, I love Taiwanese girls."

Why was it banned

Originally from Taiwan, the iconic song of hip-hop band MC HotDog has been known to mainland Chinese for many years. So it's totally unclear why they're just banning something that's been bringing two sides together.

Our rating: 🎸🎸🎸🎸

6. Hao Yu, "College Selfstudy Room"

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Sample lyric

"Finally I found a quiet corner, thought that I can finally study / All of a sudden a shadow jumps into the front / Quickly wrote, 'there will be a meeting here at 3 p.m., thank you for your cooperation.' / I looked at my watch, damn it, isn’t it 2:50 p.m. already?"

What the song is about

The song described how hard it is to find a quiet study room in a Chinese university: everybody around you is either kissing, practicing English out loud, eating snacks, making phone calls, receiving text messages with the ringtone on, etc. The writer asks in the last line, "are you really here for studying?"

Why was it banned

Well, this is such a song full of memory for those who went to university in China. It was once so popular that it was made into hundreds of self-made music videos by fans and everybody still knows how to hum it. Maybe it's just "too good to be true".

Our rating: 🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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