Welsh singer storms China's Got Talent with songs in praise of Communism
Adam Sherwin is Media Correspondent at The Independent and an award-winning writer who specialises in covering the entertainment, broadcasting, music and popular culture industries. Previously Media writer and diarist at The Times, he was a co-founder of the Beehive City media and entertainment website. As regular contributor to BBC London 94.9 Radio station, he was named Music Business writer of the year at the awards of influential music industry site Record of the Day in 2006.
Tuesday 26 March 2013
A Welsh singer has become an overnight sensation in China after performing songs in praise of revolutionary Communism on a television talent show.
Iain Inglis, 30, dressed in an army uniform and recited the anthems on China’s Got Talent.
The Cardiff-born singer, who is a university lecturer in the country, believed that he was on course to win the series, after viewers voted him into the last 16.
But Mr Inglis, who taught himself how to sing the songs from a CD he bought on holiday, has accused the Chinese authorities of censorship after he was denied the chance to take part in the series final.
“As far as I knew I was through to the final round. But the day before I was due to perform I got a phone call saying the Bureau of Broadcasting said I wasn’t able to go on,” he said.
“There was no real reason given – perhaps they weren’t very keen on having a foreigner singing songs about Communism.”
Mr Inglis said he was “very disappointed” at his exit from China’s version of Britain’s Got Talent.
Mr Inglis speaks fluent Mandarin and moved to China in 2004. He currently lives in the southern city of Sanya, on Hainan island, with his Chinese wife, whom he met on a plane.
The university lecturer has been able to cash in on his talent show run and he now puts on shows for up to £5,000 a time.
He said: “There aren’t many foreigners so it’s hard to go unnoticed. But when you have a tall, white foreigner from Wales who is singing songs about communism in Chinese, they seem to find it quite hilarious.”
The first song the singer learnt from the CD of Communist classics was “Socialism Is Great”. His biggest hit on China’s Got Talent came when he dressed in a revolutionary outfit and sang “I Love Reading Chairman Mao’s Books Most.”
Mr Inglis discovered the musical genre while he was a student living in Russia. He said: “I became friends with a group of Communists. They were a really lovely bunch of guys and they took me to a couple of demonstrations and rallies. Through that, I learnt about this state ideology and came across some of the former USSR’s red songs.”
After meeting his wife Yu Yanling, he went public with his musical homage in 2009, when he entered a local competition held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China. Emboldened by his fourth-place finish, Mr Inglis targeted the televised talent contest.
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