It looks like the news embargo on Bjork’s “Tibet” incident has finally been lifted and the fallout has begun. We have not found many traces of it, however, in the Chinese mainstream media. Two of the more notable reports we have found among the limited coverage is one by the China News Agency, the lesser known of China’s two news agencies, entitled “比约克上海演出引不满 文化部：核实后依法处理” (Bjork’s Shanghai performance stirs unhappines, Ministry of Culture to act in accordance with the law), and another on CCTV.com entitled “冰岛女歌手上海献唱 宣扬”西藏独立”挑衅中国” (Icelandic songstress promotes “Tibetan Independence” in Shanghai concert and angers China).
In the first article by the China News Agency, four of the five articles started with “The Ministry of Culture spokesperson said”, which probably means the entire article was more or less cut-and-paste from some press release crafted by the propaganda unit. We thought the four paragraphs were worth translating, so here it is:
The spokesperson (of the Ministry of Culture) said Bjork’s actions in her Shanghai concert have raised a great unhappiness among the Chinese public. This incident has also been reported by media within and without China, and raised lots of concerns.
The spokesperson pointed out that China is a unified nation with many ethnic groups and Tibet has been an indivisible part of China since ancient times. The international community is in agreement with this fact, including Iceland, and nobody has ever said that Tibet is an “independent nation”. Any action that seeks to divide Tibet out from China will receive the strong opposition of both the Chinese people and anyone with a sense of right around the world.
The spokesperson said the Chinese government has been actively promoting and encouraging the Sino-foreign cultural exchanges, and China has brought in many excellent cultural products and services. Most foreign artists and troupes will automatically obey the regulations as stipulated in the “Management Regulations on Commercial Performances”. Nevertheless, certain individuals have chosen to turn their commercial performances into political “performances”, breaking Chinese law, hurting the feelings of the Chinese people [Note from Shanghaiist: we told you it would come!], and going against the professional standards that any performer should have. China does not welcome artistes like these. We have expressed our strong disapproval of this behaviour through multiple avenues.
该发言人最后说，对于冰岛演员比约克上海演出事件，文化部将在进一步调查核实后，依法进行处理，并将在今后对外国来华演出的文艺团组进一步严格把关，防范类似事件再次发生。The spokesperson lastly said that the Ministry of Culture would continue to investigate Bjork’s Shanghai concert, and act in accordance with the law. From now on, stricter controls will be placed on performances by foreign artistes in China to prevent similar incidents from happening.
The CCTV story gave a fairly balanced overview of the incident, then proceeded to translate various comments from netizens in China (no dissenting voice there, of course).
Meanwhile, Xinhua, has proclaimed that the “instigation of Tibetan independence is doomed to fail”. In a quote attributed to Tibetan Party chief Zhang Qingli (who from his name is presumably ethnic Han):
The Dalai Lama has never stopped his plot to separate Tibet from China since he betrayed the country, Zhang, secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China, said on the sidelines of the parliament session.
“I have never heard that the Dalai Lama refrains him away from splitting Tibet from China,” Zhang told reporters. “We never tolerate those who are dead set on splitting activities.”
Meanwhile, in a review of the concert published yesterday by Shanghai Daily entitled “Icelandic diva leaves puddle” (their headlines never fail to make us go Huh?), the writer, Sam Riley, made a reference to Bjork’s “controversial parting comments“ without actually spelling out what Bjork did. “Tibet” apparently is a bad word in our city’s only English-language daily. The paper’s editors, opting to maintain a more conservative stance than Xinhua and CCTV, probably thought it was in the best interests of expatriates in Shanghai that they didn’t know anything about it. Riley, however, seems to have a sense of humour. Bjork’s final set, Declare Independence, was not named in his article, but this was his description of the concert’s finale:
Some of the best moments of the concert came when the colorful, flag sporting brass section encircled Bjork on some pared-back numbers that show-cased the singer’s powerful voice and gave the set an intimate feel.
Photo from chromewaves
China News Agency: “比约克上海演出引不满 文化部：核实后依法处理”
CCTV.com: “冰岛女歌手上海献唱 宣扬”西藏独立”挑衅中国”
Xinhua: Instigation of “Tibet Independence” doomed to fail
Shanghai Daily: Icelandic diva leaves puddle
China.org.cn: Chinese furious at ‘Tibet-independence’ Bjork
AP: China Stricter After Bjork’s Tibet Chant
AFP: China vows curbs after Bjork sings for Tibet
AFP: China raps singer Bjork over Tibet protest
Previously on Shanghaiist
Björk’s “Tibet, Tibet” caught on Youtube
Did Björk actually root for Tibetan independence in her Shanghai concert?
Björk in Shanghai: Our thoughts, your thoughts