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Kenny G Angers Chinese Government With Hong Kong Protest Visit

Hong Kong Protest, 2014.
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Protestors hold up their phones while chanting pro-democracy slogans during evening speeches at the protest site on October 1, 2014 in Hong Kong. 

Kenny G has earned himself a rebuke from the Chinese government after paying a visit to one of the pro-democracy protest sites in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

According to the South China Morning Post, Kenny G visited the epicenter of the protests and spent time taking pictures with star struck demonstrators. The smooth jazz saxophonist also tweeted from the site, wishing for a peaceful and positive conclusion to the protests.

News of Kenny G's visit quickly spread across Chinese social media, and the issue was even raised at a government press conference.

The SCMP reported that at a regular press conference, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters: "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."

Kenny G is very popular in China, with millions having watched his videos on video site Youku. His hit "Going Home" is particularly popular and has become a closing-time song for bars, train stations, shopping malls and other public buildings across China. Some pro-democracy protestors joked on social media that Kenny G's appearance was the Chinese government's final attempt to get everybody to "go home."

Despite his popularity, Kenny G has left himself open to a backlash from the Chinese public. The SCMP reports that some Hong Kong and Taiwanese musicians and actors who have publicly approved of the protests have faced widespread criticism on Chinese social media, with some users calling for these artists to be blacklisted from working in China.

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter