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Don't offend Chinese sovereignty: Beijing tells performers

July 20, 2008

Beijing July 18, 2008 (PTI): China has warned overseas entertainers that
they would be banned from the mainland if they "offend" the country's
sovereignty or stir up ethnic hatred during their performances.

Performances that "undermine national unity, endanger state security,
stir up ethnic hatred, violate religious policy and ethnic customs,
publicise pornography and superstition will be barred," China's Ministry
of Culture said.

Under the new rule, performers such as Icelandic singer Bjork who raised
a storm of controversy in March by chanting "Tibet! Tibet!" after her
song "Declare Independence" at the end of her concert in Shanghai, would
become a persona non grata.

Tibet, a sensitive issue for China, has come under intense global
spotlight after anti-government protests broke out in March in the
remote Himalayan region, leading Beijing to order a crackdown. Tibet is
also a favourite issue with some Western artists.

The Ministry circular gave no names on the "black list", but it said all
the information on entertainers and programmes should be submitted in
advance for approval, encores included.

Performers from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are also covered by the new
rule, official Xinhua news agency said.

Hollywood star Sharon Stone had also incurred the anger of Chinese after
she made a controversial remark that the devastating May 12 earthquake
in southwest China that has killed nearly 70,000 people was the result
of "bad karma" over the way Chinese were treating Tibetans.

Films featuring Stone have been banned from cinemas in Hong Kong and the
mainland and products of films featuring her have also disappeared from
major film and music stores.
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