In the country to play at a golf resort in the city of Shenzhen, the American citizen born Kenneth Gorelick wandered Hong Kong one day and came across the Occupy Central pro-democracy demonstrations that have for weeks been causing embarrassment for the Chinese authorities.
He then posted a photo of himself in front of a pro-democracy sign on Twitter with the message, “In Hong Kong at the sight [sic] of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation.”
The Chinese government was not happy at all and quickly issued a statement saying, “We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form.”
As a number of media have pointed out, Kenny G is very popular in China and tours there more often than most Western artists, so it isn’t surprising that the tweet disappeared quickly. He then posted a number of new tweets apologizing for his short-sightedness and distancing himself as much as possible from the pro-democracy forces.
In a subsequent Facebook post he clarified his position by explaining that he just happened to walk by the demonstration “as a tourist” and a couple of fans “took my picture.” He said it was “unfair” that he was being “used by anyone” to imply he was supporting the demonstrators, claiming ignorance about the issues they stood for.
“I only wanted to share my wish for peace for Hong Kong and for all of China as I feel close to and care about China very much.” In an interview with Atlantic magazine, Gorelick elaborated by saying he did not offer any encouraging words to the protesters.
Kenny G’s song, “Going Home,” is ubiquitous in China, where it always seems to be playing over the loudpeakers at closing time for retail malls and events. Coincidentally, another recent Kenny G tweet includes an appearance by Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan, who is vocally supportive of the communist government in Beijing and has publicly chastised the Occupy Central movement.