The Black Eyed Peas have refused to call off planned concerts in China in the wake of increasing pressure for musicians to boycott the country over its alleged human rights abuses.

With the path of the Olympic torch disrupted by protestors and celebrities such as Steven Spielberg and George Clooney criticising China's foreign policy, calls for an entertainment blackout of China are growing.

But while Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am agreed the Chinese crackdown in Tibet was "messed up" he questioned the need to "punish a whole country".

"If America really wants to make a difference, it should stop importing China's products and pay back its debt," he told the BBC.

Will.i.am, currently in the UK promoting his new solo single Heartbreaker, which features Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole, said he disagreed with calls for his band to pull out of their commitment to play in China in June.

"They have all this Chinese boycott stuff - they want to boycott the games," he said, "but do the people get punished when they have nothing to do with what's going on?"

"If you boycott China, when do they boycott America for what we're doing in Iraq?" he added.

Will.i.am's single is released on Monday but has already reached the UK top ten on download sales alone.


29/04/2008 15:19:10