Chinese promoters riled by Bjork outburst

Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:39am EDT
 
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By Ian Ransom

BEIJING (Reuters) - Icelandic singer Bjork's pro-Tibet outburst at a Shanghai concert has not only angered China's wary cultural guardians, but annoyed music promoters who say politics is bad for business and worse for Chinese fans.

China's Culture Ministry on Friday said it would tighten controls over foreign singers and other performers after Bjork chanted "Tibet! Tibet!" after her song, "Declare Independence."

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since People's Liberation Army troops marched into the Himalayan region in 1950 and denounces any challenge to its authority.

Bjork's performance, which the Culture Ministry said had "hurt the feelings of Chinese people," would also make it harder for foreign acts to perform in China, promoters told Reuters.

"It is unfortunate that this has happened. I know artists have to stand up for their beliefs, but she can't expect to accomplish any good in doing what she did," said John Siegel from China West Entertainment.

"I am concerned that tougher restrictions will apply, when it was finally getting a little more relaxed. Also, artists may not want to comply with tougher restrictions and choose not to come to China altogether."

Despite hosting a raft of high-profile foreign acts in recent years, including the Rolling Stones and the late James Brown, China takes pains to ensure concerts are politically correct.

Artists are forbidden to perform content that would harm "national unity" or "stir up resentment" and promoters are asked to submit set-lists and lyric sheets for approval.   Continued...

 
<p>Icelandic singer Bjork performs during the 32nd Paleo Music Festival in Nyon July 25, 2007. Bjork's pro-Tibet outburst at a Shanghai concert has not only angered China's wary cultural guardians, but annoyed music promoters who say politics is bad for business and worse for Chinese fans. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse</p>