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China Bans "Threatening" Musicians Following Bjork's Tibet Outburst

July 18, 2008 10:50 AM ET

China has banned all overseas performers that "threaten national sovereignty" following a performance by Bjork in Shanghai earlier this year. At that concert, the Icelandic singer led the crowd in a chant of "Tibet, Tibet!" after performing her song "Declare Independence." The ban will also fall on artists who "threaten national unity", "whip up ethnic hatred", "violate religious policy or cultural norms" or "advocate obscenity or feudalism and superstition." Plus, all performances must be approved beforehand, right down to what encores will be played. The move was made as China's Ministry of Culture gears up for this year's Olympic Games, which is expected to attract protesters and unruly crowds that don't need to be exacerbated by musicians.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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