But now he may have a newer, rather more intimidating adversary: the Chinese government.
According to the (via The Hollywood Reporter), Mr. G. (his real name is Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, by the way) dropped in at a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on Wednesday, where he posed for photos with star-struck demonstrators.
Now, if you’re getting stuck on the “star-struck” portion of the last sentence, it’s possible that you don’t understand the stardom which the G-man enjoys in China. He is, according to the Post, “one of mainland China’s favorite foreign music stars.” In fact, his 1989 hit “Going Home” is a huge part of modern Chinese culture; the song is played in shopping malls, schools, train stations and fitness centers before they close as a signal to the public that it is, literally, time to go home (not unlike the way U.S. bars used to use Semisonic’s “Closing Time”).
even reported that a theory circulated last week on Twitter saying that the Chinese government might send Kenny G to Hong Kong to play “Going Home, ” and that the protesters, who have occupied sections of Hong Kong’s business districts for weeks, would finally disperse.
But that theory doesn’t seem to hold water. The Chinese government seems displeased with G’s presence, and it seems unlikely that they’ll be swayed, even by the power of smooth, smooth jazz. According to the Post at a regular press conference foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that “Kenny G’s musical works are widely popular in China, but China’s position on the illegal Occupy Central activities in Hong Kong is very clear. We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support the Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form.”