Bjork's Tibet call spurs China to toughen vetting of singers
(dpa) - China on Friday said it planned stricter vetting of foreign performers after Icelandic pop singer Bjork backed independence for Tibet during a concert in Shanghai.
"From now on we will tighten controls on foreign artists performing in China to prevent similar incidents from happening again," the Ministry of Culture said.
In her concert on Sunday, Bjork cried "Tibet, Tibet!" followed by "Raise your flag!" towards the end of her final song, "Declare independence."
Her protest apparently went unnoticed by the majority of an estimated 3,000 people at the Shanghai International Gymnastics Centre.
But in a statement posted on its website, the ministry said that Bjork's call "broke Chinese law and hurt Chinese people's feelings."
The statement said Bjork had "deliberately turned a commercial show into a political performance" and that China would "no longer welcome any artists who deliberately do this."
At a similar concert in Tokyo last week, Bjork dedicated her performance of "Declare independence" to supporting Kosovo's declaration of independence.
That statement led organizers of a Serbian music festival planned for July to drop her from the lineup, citing security fears.
Her Shanghai protest came as several Tibetan independence groups are running high-profile campaigns to promote their cause ahead of the Olympic Games in Beijing in August.
Most Tibetans support calls by the exiled Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's highest leader, for greater autonomy for Tibet within China, although many still favour independence.
The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against the occupation of Tibet by Chinese troops since 1951. He remains as popular as ever among ordinary Tibetans.