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Puget Sound Radio    GENERAL CHAT    Music News  ›  Rolling Stone hits China wall...

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Rolling Stone hits China wall
By Mure Dickie in Beijing
Published: March 30 2006 02:22 | Last updated: March 30 2006 02:22
Courtesy of the Financial Times

After a sell-out first issue, the Chinese edition of the iconic music magazine Rolling Stone has hit an obstacle.

Chinese officials said on Wednesday the government had not approved the co-operation between Rolling Stone and its local publisher, Audiovisual World magazine, which launched the US title in China this month.

“This kind of co-operation must be registered according to regulatory rules... There are legal problems, so this co-operation has been halted,” said an official of the Shanghai bureau of China’s press and publications administration.

The setback for Rolling Stone, which sold out a 125,000-copy initial print run, highlights the legal and regulatory complexities surrounding foreign involvement in China’s magazine sector.

It could also signal official disapproval of the magazine’s association with rock ’n’ roll lifestyles, in spite of its decision to tone down its content for China.

Beijing demands that ownership – and therefore final editorial control – remains in Chinese hands even for the blandest periodicals, forcing foreign publishers to work through joint ventures and contractual link-ups with local licence holders.

In spite of all-new content, the launch issue of Rolling Stone was technically just another edition of Audiovisual World, which retained its name on the cover – though overshadowed by Rolling Stone’s famous English-language masthead.

Such arrangements are routine in the Chinese magazine sector, which in recent years has seen the launch of foreign titles ranging from female fashion showcase Vogue to “lads’ mag” FHM.

One Media Group, Rolling Stone’s regional licensee, declined to comment and Hao Fang, Rolling Stone’s China editor-in-chief, said he was unaware of a problem.

However, a manager at Audiovisual World said the Chinese publication was still trying to complete approval procedures for the link-up. “We will change our April magazine and the Rolling Stone name will be taken down... The content will be our own,” the person said.
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