Folk singer Song Zuying braved the cold this week to rally troops stationed at an unspecified base in the East China Sea as tensions continue to build over the disputed islands in the waters. The director of the Song and Dance Troupe for the People’s Liberation Army Navy travelled to the frontline to meet and perform for members of the East Sea Fleet over the past few days. China and Japan has been rowing over the territorial sovereignty of a chain of islets in the East China Sea, know as the Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan. The 47-year-old soprano will be conspicuously absent from this year’s CCTV New Year’s Gala - the first time she has not been invited to perform in 24 years. She duetted with Celine Dion last year. Song, from the Miao ethnic minority, is one of the most popular folk singers in the mainland.