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Tibet

Bjork faces ban after provocative Tibet call

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am

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Quirky and controversial, Icelandic singer Bjork is likely to be banned from the mainland after making a call for Tibetan independence during a weekend performance in Shanghai.

In the final performance of her encore, the singer chanted 'Tibet, Tibet' near the end of her song Declare Independence, people who attended the show said.

'It was quite hard to hear,' said a Shanghai expatriate seated near the front. 'We had a group of young Chinese girls coming up to us and asking, 'Was that really what she said?''

The lyrics of the song make no direct reference to Tibet, but contain the lines: 'Declare independence' and 'Raise your flag'. A clip reputed to be of the incident has been posted on the video-sharing website YouTube.

Bjork performed the song in Hong Kong last Thursday but left out mention of Tibet. She has previously dedicated the song to Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia last month.

'With the Beijing Olympics coming up, we're encouraging people to make comments and raise concerns on Tibet, and other wider human rights issues,' said Anne Holmes, acting director and spokeswoman for the London-based Free Tibet Campaign.

Bjork 'has been a sterling example of what you can do if you have the courage', Ms Holmes said.

She said the rights group had been in contact with Bjork's manager to thank her.

Cultural officials in Beijing and Shanghai could not be reached for comment yesterday, but many of the mainland's internet users turned against the artist.

'She should obey China's rules when she performs in the country. What she has done will impose difficulties on other foreign bands who want to come to China,' one said.

The mainland banned Taiwanese pop star Sherry Chang Hui-mei for a period after she sang at the inauguration of the island's president, Chen Shui-bian, whose party supports independence.