BEIJING (Reuters) - Icelandic singer Bjork’s politically charged outburst at a recent Shanghai concert was an isolated case and would not affect foreign artists coming to China, a senior official said on Thursday.
China’s Culture Ministry last week said it would tighten controls over foreign artists after Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” after performing her song “Declare Independence.”
China has ruled Tibet since invading the Himalayan region in 1950, and swiftly condemns any challenge to its authority.
Protests by Tibetan monks have spilled over into Chinese provinces following a string of marches around the world to mark the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Communist rule in the remote, mountainous region that has become a flashpoint for protests ahead of this year’s Beijing Olympics.
Bjork’s performance of “Declare Independence” had not been approved by authorities and had “caused dissatisfaction among the broader Chinese audience,” Vice Minister of Culture Zhou Heping told reporters.
But the incident was an isolated case, Zhou said.
“(It) won’t affect China inviting other countries’ artists from coming to perform in China, especially foreign artists and groups invited to perform during the Olympics.”
Bjork, who performed at the opening ceremony for the Athens Games in 2004, has used “Declare Independence” to promote independence movements in other places such as Kosovo.
China forbids artists from performing content that “harms national unity” and vets set-lists and lyrics before approving concerts.
Artists deemed to have offended national sentiments are isolated indefinitely, or until seen to have made due penance.
China banned Taiwan pop star Chang Hui-mei for a year after she sang the self-ruled island’s anthem at anti-China President Chen Shui-bian’s inauguration in 2000. China considers Taiwan its sovereign territory.
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson)
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