Björk’s Tibet cry angers fans in China

The Daily Telegraph (UK), 5 mars 2008

Björk, the Icelandic singer, has caused controversy in China by seeming to end a concert in Shanghai with an appeal for Tibetan independence.

The singer, who has a track record of supporting political causes, ended her concert by singing her song “Declare Independence” as an encore. Before its final rallying cry of “Raise your flag !” she intoned “Tibet, Tibet” repeatedly.

The song, originally written in support of independence movements in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, includes lyrics such as : “Declare independence ! Don’t let them do that to you !”

The singer spoke and sang in English, and the Chinese who made up half the audience may not have understood her. Tibet is known as Xizang in Mandarin.

There seemed to be no reaction at the time but condemnation was swift on China’s hyperactive and often nationalistic internet bulletin boards and blogs.

“If she wants to be political, please go home and mind her own business, please don’t buzz about other country’s inner affairs,” wrote one contributor on the English-language

“It was obviously arranged in advance,” wrote another on the popular Tianya forum. “To play with people using language difficulties is contemptuous.”

Others pointed out that not only would she be unlikely to be invited back to China, but she would make it more difficult for other performers with “edgy” reputations to be granted permission to come.

“At this gig, she may have taken a stance and made a name for herself—but it’s a big loss for Chinese music fans and music agencies,” wrote “doudouwei”, from Beijing, on the Chinese website

However, the authorities may be kicking themselves for not doing their homework.
Last month, Björk had an invitation to perform in Serbia dropped after she used the same song to welcome Kosovo’s declaration of independence at a concert in Japan.

publié dans The Daily Telegraph (UK)