Singer Bjork has accused the media of exaggerating her recent pro-Tibetan independence remark during a Chinese concert.
The Icelandic star was chastised by the communist country’s culture ministry for chanting "Tibet" several times during her freedom anthem Declare Independence at a gig in Shanghai on 2 March (08).
But Bjork insists her comments were blown out of all proportion by overzealous reporting online.
She says, "When I said ‘Tibet, Tibet,’ I whispered it three times. There was no fuss in the room. It happened afterwards on websites.
"It shows more than anything that China has become the next superpower in the world. And the issue is, how are they going to deal with Western moral issues like freedom of speech?
"Songs like Declare Independence for me are about humanity. I stand by what I said."
China has ruled Tibet since 1951, and officials, upset by the Icelandic singer’s suggestions that Tibetans should be free, initially threatened to blacklist all artists who make political comments that oppose Chinese law.
In a statement on its website, the Ministry of Culture stated: "We will further tighten controls on foreign artists performing in China in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.
"We shall never tolerate any attempt to separate Tibet from China and will no longer welcome any artists who deliberately do this.
"Some artist deliberately turned a commercial show into a political performance, which not only broke Chinese law, but also hurt Chinese audiences’ feelings."
Chinese vice-minister of culture, Zhou Heping, has since ruled against the outrage, stating, "It was just an individual case."
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