The best clue to what this release actually has to do with Chinese democracy, and virtually the only discussion of this, is online. Exhibit A has to be the title song’s official music video, at www.gunsnroses.us. It opens, oddly, with a sequence recalling the mood of recent Hollywood fare such as Syriana and The Kingdom, using gritty documentary footage of some nameless war in the Middle East.
The first shot is of a child in front of a wall covered in Arabic script, who asks the camera, ‘Could you live here? You couldn’t, because the conditions are horrible, and you’d be terrified whenever the missiles strike and the walls begin to crack!’ Cut to an old turbaned man, saying, ‘They ask, ‘Whose side is God on?’ They answer, ‘God is always on the side of the winner’.’ Then the titles come, like a movie. Then scenes of kids throwing rocks at tanks, and people throwing petrol bombs at security forces, building to a crescendo of populist rage against governments, occupying armies or whatever, until finally exploding into a cut of live concert footage of Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose – the new Axl, the one with corn rows. Clips of George W. Bush, Jiang Zemin, Yasser Arafat with Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton are mixed in, and then later on, finally some news archive stuff of China.