China says it will ban performers
Steven Spielberg, Bjork among offending artistsSHANGHAI -- China is tightening the screws on political expression, saying it will ban foreign artists and entertainers who have ever engaged in activities deemed to "threaten national sovereignty."
The notice, posted Thursday on the Ministry of Culture's Web site, follows a March incident in which Icelandic singer Bjork yelled, "Tibet, Tibet, Tibet" after performing her song "Declare Independence" live in Shanghai.
Under the new mandate, Chinese event organizers will be expected to scrutinize acts and material and ban any performance that might threaten national unity, stir ethnic hatred or violate Beijing's strict policy on state-approved religions and "cultural norms."
The Ministry of Culture did not respond to requests for comment.
Other artists that could theoretically be barred under the terms of the notice could include Hollywood heavy-hitters Steven Spielberg and Sharon Stone.
Spielberg dropped his name from a committee to design the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics over China's trade with Sudan, and Stone pondered aloud whether bad karma resulting from China's rule of Tibet was linked to the deadly earthquake in Sichuan on May 12.
Although she later apologized, Stone was banned for life from the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Emma Entertainment, the Beijing-based promotions company that organized the Bjork show said it will comply fully with the notice and pay more attention to the content of individual artists and groups.
"We consider the notice to be a positive move for the whole market, as it gives us a clear view on what to focus in the future," an Emma spokeswoman told The Hollywood Reporter.
Emma is a joint venture partner of Ticketmaster in China.