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China vows curbs after Bjork sings for Tibet

March 7, 2008

SHANGHAI (AFP) — China pledged Friday to impose tougher curbs on
foreign artists after pop star Bjork sang in support of Tibetan
independence in Shanghai, warning similar actions could lead to them
being blacklisted.

"We will further tighten controls on foreign artists performing in
China in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future,"
the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on its website.

"We shall never tolerate any attempt to separate Tibet from China and
will no longer welcome any artists who deliberately do this."

A video on the Internet site Youtube shows the Icelandic singer
closing out her concert in China's financial hub last Sunday with the
song: "Declare Independence", during which she yelled "Tibet" several
times.

Communist China has ruled Tibet since 1951, after sending in troops to
officially "liberate" the devoutly Buddhist region a year earlier.

"Some artist deliberately turned a commercial show into a political
performance, which not only broke Chinese law, but also hurt Chinese
audiences' feelings," the statement said.

"What Bjork said in Shanghai has aroused strong resentment among the
general public in China."

When asked about the welcome mat being withdrawn for artists who spoke
out in favour of Tibetan independence, a culture ministry spokeswoman
indicated Bjork would be blacklisted if she sang in support of Tibet
again.

"If Bjork continued to behave like that in future, we may consider
never allowing her to perform in China," the spokeswoman told AFP.

Bjork's support of the cause of Tibetan independence is not new -- she
performed at a Free Tibet concert in San Francisco in 1996.

The song "Declare Independence", however, was originally written for
Greenland and the Faroe Islands both of which belong to Denmark.

Bjork is one of many prominent Western celebrities, including actor
Richard Gere, to have lent their support to Tibetans campaigning for
independence for their homeland, or at least an end to what they say
is severe repression there.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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