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

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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