Updated: 01/06/2014 14:15 | By Agence France-Presse

Chinese state TV eyes Tiananmen rocker for new year gala

China's state broadcaster has invited rock singer Cui Jian -- an inspiration for 1980s pro-democracy protesters -- to perform at its annual new year gala, his manager said Monday. 

Chinese state TV eyes Tiananmen rocker for new year gala

Chinese director Cui Jian poses during a photocall for the film 'Blue Sky Bones' at the Rome International Film Festival on November 13, 2013

"We have some details we are working on" ahead of Cui's possible appearance at the annual Spring Festival Gala on state broadcaster CCTV, which has an audience of hundreds of millions, his manager You You told AFP.

Cui is dubbed the "father of rock" in China. He began recording in the 1980s, and his song "Nothing to My Name" became an unofficial anthem for the student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. 

The demonstrations were brutally crushed by authorities, killing hundreds or thousands, and Cui, who had appeared alongside the protesters, was banned from performing large-scale concerts in the mainland.

But in more recent years he has played to sizeable audiences at music festivals in the country.

He maintains a low-key public persona but recently criticised young people in China for what he described as their indifference to politics. 

"Most of the young people forget about politics," he told the South China Morning Post newspaper in December.

"Personally, I want to see rights, freedom of speech, but it's a boring subject, because everybody thinks it's dangerous," he added.

The glitzy new year gala is generally known for a mix of patriotic songs, comedy sketches, and elaborate dance routines, and has displayed images glorifying top politicians and Communist party slogans. 

Peng Liyuan, the wife of China's President Xi Jinping, was a regular performer on previous shows and state-run media said the 2012 gala had a global audience of one billion people.

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