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Sunday 9 March 2014
After decades of being closed off to western pop culture, the pressure is on for China to find a state-endorsed popstar, a fun and cool ambassador who can command the global stage. Rebecca Kanthor heads inside China’s pop machine, the ‘Earth’s Music Project’, to meet Ruhan Jia – one of the first artists to be actively promoted by the government, and those tasked with transforming her into a global sensation. In makeshift studios across China, she hears from Ruhan’s rock rivals, who are also hoping to get noticed – with or without support from the state. Raising questions of identity, ambition and freedom, Rebecca investigates the dizzying world of state-sponsored pop, and the power of pop culture. This programme is from the BBC Freedom 2014 series.
Another feature of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season is a look at some of Europe’s Troublemakers – profiles of controversial Europeans who are stirrers to some and heroes to others. Today we focus on Roberto Bui from Italy. He’s a member of Wu Ming. It’s a writers’ collective which has been challenging the Italian political establishment through high-profile pranks and planting fake stories in the media. BBC journalist Lucy Ash went to Turin to meet Roberto, otherwise known as Wu Ming Wong.