This article presents a study on the punk phenomenon in China, with a focus on how the punk musicians create new spaces within music production and performances. More importantly, it will examine how these spaces and acts of performance engage with political structures in contemporary China. By analyzing the impact that the political and economic changes of recent decades have had on the nature of Chinese society and culture, the article will first set out to understand the social context in which the punk phenomenon emerged and developed in China. Drawing on interviews with Chinese punk musicians, a discussion of the politics of place will show how a Chinese punk band has challenged a dominated space by performing in the Tiananmen Square. Informed by Attali’s theoretical discussion on “noise”, the next focus will be on an exploration of the process of power negotiation in performing punk music and seeking punk authenticity through non-conforming practices at government/institution-sponsored events. Overall, it is argued that punk performance can carve out a space for alternative political aspirations through interaction with authoritative figures (e.g. in resisting the existing powers), thus challenging state power and institutional oppression in China.

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