Jimmy Page is a decent and compassionate individual who apart from his extraordinary musical talents as a guitarist, producer and composer, has selflessly dedicated himself to bringing relief to Brazil’s street children, through his extensive charitable works. His guitar playing has inspired countless people around the world and he is without question an iconic figure within the world of music. It was perhaps his global standing that resulted in his appearance at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing 2008, in which he played a version of the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love to a huge Chinese and international audience.
There were some discussion on the musical integrity of that performance, criticised as a pale, over-choreographed version of a genuine rock anthem. However little concern was expressed regarding Jimmy’s presence in Beijing in terms of his participation, which some considered as an endorsement of what was a propaganda event for communist China’s bloody regime. It is the nature of fans to suffer from selective sight of course, their heroes forever without fault and certainly beyond such critique. Yet appreciating Jimmy Page’s music is insufficient reason to ignore the uncomfortable observation that in playing at that Beijing Stadium he was (albeit in a capacity to promote English Olympic interests) associating with the world’s most brutal and oppressive state. Perhaps at this point readers in England may be thinking, ‘Ah yes but he was there to promote the London 2012 Olympics’. That may well be so, yet that does not detract from what was a very troubling involvement. Imagine if you will another guitar legend Django Rheinhardt (one of Jimmy Page’s favourites) a jazz master of the 1930/40/50s performing his classic Nuages for the Nazi hierarchy at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Or his other great inspiration, black blues legend BB King, agreeing to perform at an event organised by the Apartheid Regime of South Africa! Anyone possessed of integrity would be appalled by such events, and one imagines that Page too would find it uncomfortable viewing.
Admirers of Jimmy Page can of course overlook and forgive such errors of judgement and always find some justification to excuse his involvement in Beijing. In the world-of-the hardened fan there is it would seem no place for human rights, justice or freedom within music. Yet, how will Jimmy Page’s legion of followers respond to his active involvement at another Beijing event, which ironically is being promoted as a concert to supposedly support, peace, green and health issues. According to reports he was scheduled to appear at the so-called Show Of Peace at the Olympic Stadium Beijing on October 10, 2010, which to the relief of all those who value human rights, freedom and justice was cancelled. Partly as a result of the Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, a development that generated acute political embarassment and frustration for the communist Chinese regime.
Within totalitarian China and the occupied territories of Tibet, East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria there is no genuine peace, only oppression and state violence. While environmental destruction and pollution is a widespread issue across China. Tibetans and Uyghurs are brutally denied the very rights this event is purportedly promoting. In light of China’s appalling record on human rights it is an obscenity that anyone would consider staging such an event there, it would be like organizing a concert for peace in Cambodia under the tyranny of Khymer Rouge!
Jimmy, many of your fans will be genuinely concerned by your association with this event and would appeal that you urgently reconsider any further involvement. As will be recalled, Mr Steven Speilberg acted with a much welcomed sense of ethics, and eventually withdrew his involvement in the preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Will you and your management, in considering participating at this occasion, remember the oppressed people of Tibet, East Turkestan and China, whose political, cultural, civil freedoms are so violently denied, by the very same communist Chinese regime your involvement with would so greatly assist. Please do not permit China’s propaganda exercise to cast a questionable stain upon your wonderful career, and reputation for valuing basic human rights. Nor allow it to colour the widespread affection and respect in which countless numbers of fans regard you.