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China’s Zang Tianshuo prosecuted

Popular singer accused of being mob boss

The Chinese biz was shaken Thursday by news that one of the country’s most popular warblers, Zang Tianshuo, whose song “Friends” was featured in Donald Sutherland starrer “Big Shot’s Funeral,” is being prosecuted as an alleged mob boss involved in deadly knife fights.

The Beijing Public Security Bureau said the case against Zang, who was arrested Sept. 28, has gone to the public prosecutor. “The police investigation had taken quite some time because the case was complicated and involved criminal gangs,” the Xinhua news agency reported.

The 41-year-old singer runs several bars in northern Hebei province near the capital. The Beijing Times reported he was accused of joining a criminal gang at his bar and rising through the ranks until he became the overlord. It said the accusations against him were based on the testimony of an alleged gang member who was arrested and blew the whistle on the rest.

The burly, shaven-headed Zang, known to his friends as Little Zang, is a Buddhist with a reputation as a man who likes to party. He is best known for his stirring renditions of the popular “Friends,” which he sings seated at a piano.

Zang was voted the most popular mainland singer-songwriter at the ninth Chinese Music Awards in 2003.

He was one of China’s first rock musicians. Zang started the band Infallible in 1983 with Ding Wu, vocalist for the rock band Tang Chao, and has been a prolific lyricist and singer for the past 20 years. He is also known for writing soundtracks and advertising jingles. He was also the face of a public road safety campaign in 2005.

“My Ten Years” was one of the bestselling albums in China in 1995, and his other four albums are popular, including a record of folk music he recorded in 2002. Zang also worked with the popular Beijing Boys, and he signed them to his label in 2002.

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