Bjork: Raise your flag? Declare independence? "Tibet...Tibet"

Iceland's art rock princess, Bjork
Iceland's avant-garde art-rock songstress, Bjork, performed to a sold-out crowd last night at the Shanghai International Gymnastic Center; her first-ever show in Shanghai – she performed once before in Beijing, circa 1996.

Never ceasing to draw attention, Bjork closed the show with a 2nd encore performance of "Declare Independence" – a rousing power-to-the people anthem containing such lyrics as: "Declare independence!" "Don't let them do that to you!" "Start your own currency!" "Make your own stamp" "Protect your language" "Make your own flag!" "Raise your flag!"...etc. [lyrics]

You can imagine where this might be going.

At the end of the song, just before walking off stage, Bjork left the crowd with two words: "Tibet.....Tibet"......fully audible, in English.

"Declare Independence" was originally written with the Faroe Islands and Greenland in mind, not Tibet.

Your correspondent hasn't been able to find a reliable video clip of this yet; however, I can attest to it happening because I was there.

As expected, online Chinese discussion boards (i.e. Douban, Tianya) are ripe with commentary with some saying "who cares" and showing support, but with most expressing shock and outrage.

A few quotable gems (translated):

"If she was yelling free Shanghai, that would be great! Free Shanghai! Free Shanghai!"
"Those who put on the show should be severely fined and not allowed to bring this kind of trash in for performances.”
"Call the relevant authorities! Be gone with her! What a bitch! Fuck!"
"Doesn’t surprise me that she’d do something like this."
"Very yellow, very violent!"
"I don’t think there is any issue, so what if she sang a few lines about Tibet, we don’t need to berate the woman to death. Is our government really that sensitive?"
"I don’t understand, why do Western stars give a shit about Tibet. Isn’t Tibet ours?! Mind your own business!”
"Wow, the nerve! Where did she get the courage to do this! Weirdo!”
“I like Bjork, it's ok for her to have a different point of view, but for her to do this is disrespectful to fans here, very selfish of her."

It's unlikely Bjork will be performing again in China any time soon, if ever. Bravo.

There are currently 84 Comments for Bjork: Raise your flag? Declare independence? "Tibet...Tibet".

Comments on Bjork: Raise your flag? Declare independence? "Tibet...Tibet"

the suppression of free political speech impacts society in a myriad of ways.

it's hard to imagine words that would comparably shock an avant-garde art-rock audience in countries recognizing and respecting the right to free speech.

country-music audiences, of course, are a different crowd altogether.


Well, personally I dont think the independency of tibet is a good idea at these days, but however ... she is the HEROINE for speaking it out .

About the audience, heh, its just another example of the SHABIness of those rock fans community, they dont really know what freedom means.

Full points to Bjork. Jesus Christ, if China's ever going to find its way in the world, it's got to learn to be tougher than that. As if a foreign pop star's going to have any effect at all on Chinese policy.

I look forward to seeing the Tibetan flag flown high above the Worker's Stadium this summer. Believe me, somebody will figure out how to do it.

I'm sure the all event organizers in the crowd were cringing when they heard that...and all the live music fans in China should feel the same way. No matter what you're view is on Tibet, this is certainly not good for the live music scene in China.

Govt authorities will now have a good excuse not to let in international acts and alternative music's reputation in general can only suffer. I doubt Bjork has much of an idea what the consequences of her actions were. At least she has one more stripe on her "Free Tibet" uniform to show off next times she meets up with Richard Gere.

Do everyday Chinese care about the freedom of Tibet? Probably not.

Do young hardcore nationalists care about the freedom of Tibet? They think they do. So is Bjork.

Do the Chinese government care about this charade? You bet they do. So naturally, Bjork will be blamed and possibly banned from performing again on Chinese soil. But who cares, there're too many fishes in the sea.

Hahahahaha, excellent! Subversion at its finest! Bjork smash!

She was playing to the foreign crowds, no real concern for the people of Tibet or China, Hollywood nonsense.

Sounds like denial is the main Chinese weapon towards unpleasant ideas. Chinese are just too weak, too naive, too simple, to understand and handle situations like this, and they had 5000 years to develop skills to handle this kind of things already. How much longer do you think they need to develop this kind of skills ?

i love how open-ended 'declare independence' is...

"raise your own flag.. (insert country)
raise your own flag.. (insert country)"

she might as well have thrown in taiwan and xinjiang.

If she perform in the west and yells" Fuck George bush". Bravo, big claps. but image what if she says " long live Bin laden " or something like that

Bjork touched the wrong nerve of Chinese.

This also kind of reminds me of this scene in Borat.
Borat went to rodeo in Virginia and wanted to sing the national anthem in front of big audience. Before the singing, he said " We support your war of terror" and got big applause, he then said "George W. Bush will drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq" and this draw big booing. The is a real scene without anyone knowing that he was actually filming a movie.
John Saunders, the Salem Civic Center's assistant director, told the Roanoke Times that if Borat and crew hadn't high-tailed it out of the arena, "There would have been a riot. They would have been killed."

Good for her!
It's not like her saying this is going to have any immediate effect, but I think just the fact of Chinese people getting a chance to realize exactly how unpopular their policies on Tibet (or Sudan, for that matter) are in the world is a good thing. Anything to pierce through the shroud of censorship.


I don't know what her delivery was like, but it sounds a bit much. The song is straightforward enough as it is, no need to beat it into the ground.

"Govt authorities will now have a good excuse not to let in international acts and alternative music's reputation in general can only suffer."

Imbecilic government with terrible policies enacts another terrible policy in reaction to a musical performer's brief criticism of current terrible policies. Yeah, Bjork should really be busted up about this. Come on.

Do what you should do,Bjork. Don't touch politics although it's your freedom to express your feelings.Every country in this world has its own political issues and will you do such things this time in Shanghai in every country?

Politics is not music.

I don't give a damn about her political stand. You wanna free Tibet? Okay. Who cares?

However, what really annoys me is that she definitely chose the wrong arena to propagandize the viewpoint. It really turns a splendid performance into a political showcase. Thumbs down.

YAWN, just another day on Danwei, where various anonmies talking about nonsense politics, while rest of the world don't really give a damn about Free Tibet, China, or whatever.

The West and Middle East relations is where it's at now days...

FREE IRAQ! Get wid the time.

This is more of a feel-good PR stunt than anything else.

However, it is much better than Roger Waters' cynical allusion to Israel's security barrier, while singing "The Wall" and showing images of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, also in Shanghai. Trying to get oppressed people excited about political issues of anothr country because you don't have the balls to tell them what you think, is pathetic. Not mixing rock and politics is one thing, but if you do mix, do it like a man (or like an Icelandic Lady).

For those interested, here is a short video clip of the Bjork "Tibet...Tibet" incident in Shanghai...from 0:30 - 0:40



For some people it's not possible to separate political ideals and their music... because their music is a part of them, just like their ideals are. They are you, you are them. When you do separate the "music" from the "idea" you get pop shit like Brittney Spears or what have you. I'm not a big fan of bjork ... I turned down the chance to go, but more power to her.

The difference between her saying "Free Tibet" in China and "Long live bin laden" in the USA ... is that Bin Ladin executed a horrible act of terrorism upon innocent people in an office building, whereas Tibet has had horrible acts of terrorism perpetrated upon them by a tyrannical government. Do you see the difference?

She didn't say it just to "make china upset" ... there are real, and actual injustices happening there everyday. This is how she feels, this is why she writes music.

if she wants to be political, please go home and mind her own business,please dont buzz about other country's inner affairs. if tibetans declare independence, we are open to listen to their opnions,but those foriegners they just have too much boring time so they put their paws on other country , which is really stupid, they should go back to their own country and declare their own independence. they are pretty brain washed by that runaway Dalai Lama. so they travel to China, using the air ports and railways Chinese built, to jump up and down like clowns and say some irresponsible speeches that dont influnce their lives at all but hurt chinese PEOPLES' feelings. Tibet belongs to China for thousands years, Chinese government put a lot of energy and money to improve lives of people living n tibet, so many people died to building the rail ways, just to improve the traffic, and the eco-system there is well kept too! cuz we are all Chinese, we help each other.

As pointed out in a comment on Shanghaiist, this may have been tongue-in-cheek (whether joking about Tibetan independence is wise is another question entirely)

From's interview with Björk before the concert:
There is a lot of self-parody going on. For example with the track "Declare Independence," every time I hear that track, the beginning of it, I just start laughing because it’s just so extreme and there is kind of like a totally "anti-everything" kind of person who is very ... walking with banners and protesting and very green ... and you know, I just find it very comical, these kinds of personalities.

Time travel/alternate history thought experiment:

It would have been such a hit with the locals back in the Shanghai of the '30s if it'd been the same lyrics for a nice jazz tune with "China! China!" thrown into the mix. The Western expat crowd of the time might take umbrage, however, not to mention to Japanese.

Or better yet, a nice rallying song for the Red Guards in the late '60s and early '70s:

"Damn colonists
Ignore their patronizing
Tear off their blindfolds
Open their eyes"

Mao couldn't have put it better, and it would go so well with one of those old propaganda posters showing the oppressed peoples of the third world uniting under the banner of international revolutionary communism.

Poor 21st-century China, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous(ly good) fortune! China's finally big and strong again (well, if by "China" you mean the GDP and not however many hundreds of millions of dirt farmers) and pop musicians have the gall to criticize it for its imperialist tendencies.

Seems sometimes the average "educated" Chinese person's grasp on history is about as good as the average American "educated" person's (you know, Native Americans are happier on reservations, the Iraqis are happy to have been liberated, the US by definition can't possibly be an empire and the terrorists are just jealous and hate our freedom and way of life).

I hope M.I.A. comes to Shanghai next... that'd be a treat.

Cheers to indigenous rights movements all over the world.

And oh yeah--music or art without politics is just music or art so embedded in the dominant politics of the time that it's *entirely* political as well as entirely hypocritical for pretending *not* to be political. So, my Bjork-hating Han friends, go buy some vacuous Chinese "R&B" and bump up consumer spending like you're supposed to (don't just download it for free!). It's the patriotic thing to do.

even if bjork was being tongue-in-check, i imagine she was well aware of the possible fallout - such as not being allowed to perform future show and the thus loss in potential revenue. kudos to her for not compromising her beliefs or ideals.

we're sure in for a real exciting summer with thousands of athlete's and international media swarming about for similar stories such as this.

ps. "please dont buzz about other country's inner affairs" is such a cliché. if i here another person tell me that i will puke.

She does music well and should stick to it. Last week a Serb friend who's a diehard fan of Bjork went to see her in Tokyo, only to hear her go "Kosovo Kosovo"... He's not a highly politicized person but couldn't help asking himself, does she at least know anything about Serbia and Kosovo? And with the Shanghai performance it was the same again... If she really cared about Tibet, she would've known how H.H. the Dalai Lama has long given up on Tibet's indipendence, and is now rather asking for greater autonomy. And then again, what's all the fuss about declaring independence? look at the world, nowadays people are increasingly trying to join forces and come together, you've got the EU, ASEAN... Ok, they're not perfect but at least they're trying.

To me, this tour showed how pretentious and arrogant Bjork is. It's not enough for her to be the brilliant artist that she is, she's also gotta go around making political propaganda... how boring!

death to the infidel

Freedom of speech
Can't ban me

You are all missing the simple point.

Whatever Bjork said has really no meaning except that it gets lots of people around the world to talk about her.

This is all free advertising. For that end Bjork like many stupid pop stars are actually using their noggin to promote their crappy music/art/whatever people will buy---which sadly is whatever is advertised.

Free Tibet? First free the minds of the Chinese... Such a violent response to a difference of opinion is very telling.

We Chinese people all support Bjork to sing a new song named "Injun"
and the lyrics :
Declare independence, Injun!
Don't let them do that to you!
Declare independence, Injun!
Don't let them do that to you!

Start your own currency!
Make your own stamp
Protect your language

Make your own flag!
Make your own flag!
Make your own flag!
Make your own flag!

Raise your flag!
Raise your flag!
Raise your flag!
Raise your flag!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We Chinese people all support Bjork to sing a new song named "Northern Ireland" or "ringleader" or "Maori" or something else

and the lyrics are:
Declare independence!
Don't let them do that to you!
Declare independence!
Don't let them do that to you!

Start your own currency!
Make your own stamp
Protect your language

Make your own flag!
Make your own flag!
Make your own flag!
Make your own flag!

Raise your flag!
Raise your flag!
Raise your flag!
Raise your flag!

and I'm quite sure American people and Statue of Liberty,and also the English ,Canadian,or Australian will welcome Bjork with kindness!

Bjork ,you are such a real HEROINE !!!!!!as the "chinaguy" said

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Posted by: J B | March 4, 2008 9:23 AM

I totally agree with you man
how do you think about the idea that Bjork ,you and I free Tibet ,free Injun,free the Northern ireland,and also free Quebec !!!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




[Combined multiple posts. --JM]

... by the way, if she really was all that hardcore and political about tibet she would've either refused to perform in china, or mentioned tibet at the beginning of the concert... too easy to say that n then disappear. she should've faced the people.

and yes, saying foreigners should mind their own business is very cliche and boring. still, when we do open our mouths, how about thinking first and choosing the right arena for our message... otherwise the whole point is missed.

kudos for not compromising her beliefs and ideals? hmmm... i can't help but feeling that deep down inside she doesn't give a crap about tibet. to me she's just trying to find a way to reinvent and promote herself as an artist. will her fans be impressed?

Hope day will come when common mass in China will get free access to media and other side of the story.

At moment media is strictly controlled the Govt. and people are taught that Tibet is part of China. They never mentioned about it's illegal occupation and immense suffering it cause to Tibetans. Forget Tibet, even Tiannamein Square massacre is unknown in Chinese history.

video here:

I couldn't understand her English until I played it for the third time...

Here's logic. The Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty invade China and take it over. They then invade the separate and independent Kingdom of Tibet and take it over as well. Therefore, according to the Chinese White Paper, Tibet is an intergral part of China. This is taught in Chinese brainwashing facilities, I mean, schools. It would be the equivalent of U.S schools ignoring the fact that slavery happened. Those mindless Han Chinese who are outraged by Bjork's comments should be ashamed at how brainwashed they are. They should be fighting for the chance to speak their minds freely and to challenge the actions of their own government when appropriate and necessary. Those that are offended are mindless lemings willingly heading over the cliff, jingoistic nationalists with no ability to think for themselves.

Pelkyi Dorje, the slayer of Lang Darma (because it had to be done)

fucking asshole, get out of my country


In reference to the Olympics... I personally think the inevitable protests by Western activists on Tibet will be a very interesting educational experience for them.

... if Chinese security forces don't get to them quickly, they'll find out quickly just how the Chinese public feel about these issues.

Just wanted to point out, as well, that Danwei's translated comments are anything but a representative sample.

This is the first issue in recent memory (even more so than the Spielberg issue) in which the voices in Tianya are so overwhelmingly one-sided.

The Spielberg threads tended to have a ratio of about 90-10 in terms of negative versus positive (or at least neutral) comments. The Bjork thread looks to be about 99-1, so far.

Mrs. Bjork is a strong speaker. We Chinese people don't believe in our government but Tibet is different. We believe what government say about Tibet. We also think politics should not mix with other things like music or sports or economy. We leave politics to government. We are only money minded people these days. So shame on our rich culture!!! Thank you Mrs. Bjork.

So Bjork comes to China to earn Chinese people's money and then insult their hospitality? Fabulous. Several thoughts:

1)This is what happens when celebs who do not know the issues except from biased western media sources jump the celeb cause bandwagons and make their grandstanding. I hope she and her lot are banned from China because we do not need this kind of junk on our stage or airwaves.
2)The Chinese fans of western music should also ask themselves questions: Why do you support western singers when you cannot even understand the lyrics of their songs?! So you get yourself sucked into this travesty of fattening their paychecks and then getting insulted in return. Let this be a lesson to all Chinese fans and people about blind worship of anything from the West or from overseas.
3)To those western supporters of Tibet independence, read history first before you come lecturing at us. Just because you in the West controls media and gets to shape public opinion does not mean you are right.

Sometimes you need to separate so you can better live together... Like Serbia and Kosovo... Killing by COMPASSION is still a CRIME...

luv ya bjork..

So what do you want China do? Apologize to the world, and say, sorry world, we Chinese are evil, shouldn't have taken over Tibet. That's weakness, this is not something for you stoned hippies feel good fucks to decide, there are other forces at play here. At this point in time this is where China is at. You can't change that.

Give me a break. Sure, morally China may be in the wrong here. I'm not even touching the issue of whether Tibet has anything to do with China (China do have some claim over Tibet, at least there can be a debate), I'm talking about the persecution of Tibetans. But, when you have humans involved, everything is off the table. It's the vicious game that humans play. It's part of the human cycle. There is no escape. You have to play this game. And all China is doing is playing it, like everyone else.

Shit, everyone plays this game. It's just you stoned brain-washed hippies are the ones who are blinded. But truth be told, that's exactly where they want you. By they I mean the game, this tide of human force, that everyone of us is involved in. And so are the Chinese, they are brain-washed too, or whatever, playing the game. What is wrong with Chinese nationalism? It's their country. You do whatever you like in your country. But don't for a second think you are some how outside of this game, this cycle.

These stoned ass hippies (GET A FUCKIN JOB) who are themselves brain-washed, where they find an issue that feels good to them (hey, the only reason you care about Tibet at all is because you are interested in their religious teachings. This is soft religious power, and this power has control over you, apparently), and in this blindness they pick and choose whatever issue that feels good and ignores everything else. Whether it's Tibet, or Darfur, it's all feel good to you, and you give a fuck. But there are a billion problems in the world. Get off your high chair.

Well, you are just another brick in the wall. Everything is just ebbs and flows of history. And China is currently in this position, if you don't like it, then complain, maybe you can change things, but more likely you are just being carried by more powerful forces. You are a drone.

You can possibly implement a few solutions to this problem: Keep on complaining, make you voice heard, perhaps you can actually change the game. Or, you can invent a super virus with intelligence, that is able to selectively kill every Chinese, poof, no more Chinese race, Free d Tibet. Of course, you can always just shut the fuck up.


everyone seen to be angry.

I guess she can say what ever she like because there really is no one to stop her.

But is there really this bad in Tibet, because I alway thought it is just people that believe in the Dala Lama feel this way.

Also if things are really this way, why are would the "Chinese government" in there do that just for tibet? because I keep on feeling there are a great deal of overwording involve in this.

Another thing is that Tibet is part of china, but does the people in charge there really Han Chinese? Because from my finding I thought the people in charge there is a Tibetian and the Dala Lama just want them to be in charge of it.

Another celebrity abusing their fame to raise issues they know little of.

Kosovo's independence is a clear violation of international law and UN resolution 1244. Just because the region accumulated an ethnic Albanian majority over the last 100 years doesn't give it the right to declare independence. How would you feel if Texas' ethnic mexicans became the majority in 2020 and decided, with the backing of the Mexican government, to declare itself an independent nation?

As for Tibet, regardless of how "7 Years in Tibet" or "Kundun" portrays it or how much better you think it would be if it was an independent nation, Tibet under the Dalai Lama was a backwards serfdom. The majority of the population before 1959 lived as serfs and slaves under its few feudal lords with punishment for petty crime and escape being mutiliation or worse. Sure many Tibetans still revere Tenzin Gyatso, but how many of them, besides the former nobles in the exile, would like to see the return of pre-1959 Tibet?

F*cking Bjork!
Don't you think there is enough naive freedom to protect you from being headed? Feel very blessed that you did that in morden China, don't you?

Mind your own business, asshole!

thats exactly how you are brainwashed to believe that Tibet is bad under Dalai Lama. That was taught to you by your goverment. Even after 50 years in exile, Dalai Lama is still revered by his people in Tibet. If you want to know fact, go to Tibet as see if people get jailed for possessing Dalai lama picture.

I think it's harsh to call somebody "brainwashed" for expressing their opinion, but I would like to know if Tro has read any books on the subject not published in the PRC, and if so, which ones?

As for Bjork, does any of this really matter? Are the stage ravings of a 90s pop star really sufficient to hurt the feelings of the entire Chinese nation? I would hope not, otherwise we might be in for a long August.

if only all the musicians/entertainers/activists took the time and effort to study chinese history spanning over 5000 years, perhaps they might save themselves from the embarrassment of being totally ignorant and self serving in their crusade for 'justice' for tibet.

for starters most of these people have never even been to tibet so how do they know anything let alone history, the development over the decades and the increase in wealth, living standards and freedom from poverty that has occurred to the indigenous peoples of the region from as recently as the early 1980s.

there has not been any denials made by the chinese government in the importance of tibet as part of one-china policy and it is in their interest to protect their sovereignty by any means necessary. this is part of the human condition. the means are never all just and it has occurred the world over.

but equally the propaganda and brainwashing conducted by the western media upon the peoples in that hemisphere concerning tibet and xinjiang are fuelled by ulterior motives, too numerous to mention here.

so for some musician who is obviously not well educated enough about the world, to come about as a political commentator/activist in to a sovereign state and carry out such an action, displays only a lack of respect for the people of that sovereignty and the state itself. this of course is all the more inappropriate because it is based on a lack of knowledge and done with a financial receipt to perform from those whom she insult while being a guest in their country.

a brief stint at a chinese prison cell would have been deserving and perhaps if indeed it had been so, it would have done this performer some good, for her to have a little solitary time to contemplate her actions which may actually help her to mature a little. that way she could teach her children something of value and perhaps deliver better discourse within art and perhaps become a real artist of the responsible type.

people need to consider whether such actions if carried out in washington over alaskan independence to a separate state of an inuit nation or in jerusalem, for the independence of gaza as part of the palestinian nation would go down so well or be tolerated by the authorities without any consequences.

Well, so much for tongue-in-cheek (unless this, too, is a joke). From Pitchfork:

"I have been asked by many for a statement after dedicating my song 'Declare Independence' to both Kosovo and Tibet on different occasions. I would like to put importance on that I am not a politician, I am first and last a musician and as such I feel my duty to try to express the whole range of human emotions. The urge for declaring independence is just one of them but an important one we all feel at some times in our lives. This song was written more with the personal in mind but the fact that it has translated to its broadest meaning, the struggle of a suppressed nation, gives me much pleasure. I would like to wish all individuals and nations good luck in their battle for independence. Justice!"

i was there. was not about to make a fuss about it until now, been asked 4times today" what did you feel".

i don't want to spend too much time worrying about an artist's political views, but I'm disappointed she killed a somewhat hurried-pulled-together show with an even more hasty end.

I have to say I'm not a han chinese.
I'm half Manchu,and half Hanchu
but absolutely,I'm chinese!
and also Zangchu(tibetan people)are chinese too
we'r a big family

so get out of my country,get out of my family,Bjork!

All right, let's just go to the point. Could someone tell me what the government has done for Tibet ever since it came under China in the 1950s? It would be good if there is a timeline

Could someone tell me what Gaia has done useful to human since he was born. It would be good if there is a timeline.

Jeremiah "I think it's harsh to call somebody "brainwashed" for expressing their opinion, but I would like to know if Tro has read any books on the subject not published in the PRC, and if so, which ones?"

Well how about this one ...

I think Bjork represents West's new generation of imbecility, who have been fed up too well to understand the true meaning of life ... Best why to treat them is just to ignore them and let them rot ...

Do any of the rabid Chinese nationalists living in the mainland who defend the indefensible (China's invasion of Tibet, i.e., imperialism) and excoriate Bjork for simply speaking her mind (sorry if that hurts your poor little mindless nationalist feel-bads)even know what happened between between April 15 and June 4, 1989 in Tiananmen Square? Or was that glossed over in your stellar indoctrination, I mean education? Governments do bad things, particularly monolithic monsters like the PRC and its master, the CCP. Its okay to say so. I have problems with my own government on a daily basis. And when someone elsewhere offers criticism it should not be dismissed outright simply because some foreigner said it. That's fucking stupid. And it demonstrates how lacking you are in critical, rational thought.

I have been to Tibet and have studied China and Tibet extensively. The argument that "Xi Zang" (the name itself demonstrates how the imperial government in Beijing views Tibet) was fuedal and that the almighty, ne'er do wrong Zhong Guo saved it is ludicrous, not in line with the historical facts, and fails to acknowledge the underlying concept of self-determination.

The bottom line is that the Chinese government since 1949 is and has been more imperialistic than the U.S. under George W. Bush. I know its hard to believe, but its true. Get over yourselves, get educated, and stop being so mindlessly authoritarian.

I think George Bush used the reasoning in Parenti's article as support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thanks "ignore them", you are interesting and make a lot of sense. Good for you, reactionary smart guy.

I liked that her costume looked vaguely tibetan too. I am sad she won't be invited back to my country.

some good video here: link

Ignore these brainwashed drones!!! FREE TIBET. These guys needs to chill out and get stoned.


These cubicle drones has nothing better to do, apparently.

Storm in a teacup!

Liberate Ruritania!

Down with long johns!

Long live the king!

Compulsory tantric sex lessons for all Americans!

I think it's important to remember that Bjork is just a singer. She has no more right than anyone else to comment on politics, even in her own country.

But in China, entertainers and sports figures are valued members of the government, and their concerns, no matter how trivial, have just as much value as those of every other member of China's government advisory body.

Joel, what does that even mean?

Texas: Mexico, please take it over/back.

I think Americans really wouldn't care too much if some citizens started calling for the independence of their respective states. Why? Because we're reasonably confident in our system of government, laws, economy, security, etc. We would look at that state and say, "Oops. Your loss." And let's be honest, it would be that state's loss. The benefits of staying in the union far outweigh the benefits of seceding.

Now, at this point in time, I would think that the situation is the same for Tibet. The benefits of secession would be outweighed by the losses. China really has no reason to worry it would ever happen. So this is why I don't understand, why does China get oh so worked up whenever foreigners raise the call for Tibetan independence? Are you guys really so used to being the victim that you enjoy letting your own media tell you that it hurts your feelings? Is that some kind of global status symbol of honor or respect? Do you get off on it? Because I think, and I think most people think, that playing the victim isn't much different than the younger sibling who complains to his mother that Johnny won't stop teasing him. In other words, it's immature and naive.

So don't worry about Bjork. She just made a bunch of foreigners happy for taking a stance, and based on her comments it's a pretty idealistic and ignorant one. Don't worry when we our our media criticize you, because that's what friends do. It's when we stop criticizing that you should worry--that means you're no longer worth caring about.

Bjork just missed out the culture issue here. In Chinese culture, make negative comment on someone's family issue is consider to be rude and insulting. Tibet issue has always been a sensitive spot, and it's always considered as an inner affaire of China.

It's bit sad that the Shanghai concert probably would be her last show in China, but since the mistake was so big, and she didn't seem to care, I think Chinese people's reaction is understandable.

to Jung:
I'm glad that Chinese people used the 5000 years to develop their unique culture, than paint themselves white.

She really is a heroine by speaking up for people who are not allowed to speak for themselves.
Some of the commentors believe that Tibet is China's possession. Taking possession of some country does not mean that you have rights. Rights over a country is all about the people who live there. They decide if they want to be overruled. No people I know of, are glad to be overruled. Let them choose for themselves if they want Tibet to be a free country with authonomy of their own.

I hope your leaders will be sensible and give Tibet back to the rightfull owner: the Tibetans.

xi xi

西方国家的朋友们,你们可以和我们谈有关西藏的历史问题,但是请不要幼稚的叫嚣西藏独立。固然中国人受到的教育无法让他们完全了解西藏问题,那么你们呢?美国、英国、法国还有今日的俄罗斯昔日的沙俄,中国如果也和你们算起历史的旧帐,是否应该归还各位侵略中国时拿走的白银,割走的土地呢?你们一定会认为我们的这种行为很白痴吧?还有美国那50多个州,是开天辟地凭空就有的?我们如果今天要求你还给印地安人土地,你们又会说,"oh that's different with Tibet"。


"I think George Bush used the reasoning in Parenti's article as support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thanks "ignore them", you are interesting and make a lot of sense. Good for you, reactionary smart guy."

-- Where are the celebrities crying out "Iraq! Iraq!" Where are the Disney films portraying President Saddam as a virtual saint? Where is his Nobel Peace Prize? Where are organizations like "Students For a Free Iraq"? or even a "Iraqi government in exile"? Oh wait, Mr. Saddam got his head ripped off!

No sir, I have not been brainwashed by the PRC (where besides wikipedia can I get the PRC's pov from Canada?). I for one do not think that the PRC's claims on Tibet is any more tangeable than the claims of Tibetan sovereignty by the Tibetan government in exile, nor do I contest the fact that PRC intentionally killed, or, through misguided policies, caused the deaths of millions in China and Tibet during the early years of its existence. No, the only brainwashing I have endured on the subject of Tibet is endless emotional appeals by mindnumbingly naive Hollywood celebrities and heaps of unverifiable claims spout out by various anti-PRC NGOs (at least that brain-washed PRC-lapdog Parenti lists his sources).

Now all of you Tibet-Freeing crowd might think you are ultra hip (n kewl n stuff n u no whateva...), but consider this, how many of your friends, family, co-workers actually disagree with the oh-so-rare notion that Tibet is a paradise corrupted by the evil hand of the PRC? A teacher of mine (an avid hater of communist regimes) once observed that the greater number of people agreeing with a certain assessment, the greater the chance that they did not give a second thought about it, and I agree with him. Perhaps for the exact reason that everyone supports Tibetan independence mindlessly that we should at least start examinating if not question the arguments set forth by its proponents?

I have read more than once that the PRC alleged murdered 1.2 million in Tibet, this might be true! the PLA might have done nothing but slaughter Tibetans during those years and indeed massacre 1,200,000 people. If it weren't for the fact that The Tibetan government in exile would have to pull it out of its ass to come up with such a figure given its lack of information on Tibet (maybe it was a PRC figure?!) or the fact that 1.2 million is more than 40% of Tibet's 2.8 million inhabitants at that time!

I am not arguing that the PRC is not an evil demonic entity from hell bent on causing as much suffering and pain as possible, I am just saying that maybe, just maybe, the Tibet before 1959 was not Shangri-La, that the Dalai Lama can make mistakes (let's call it 70% right and 30% wrong?), and that the PRC, whilst slaughtering 1.2 million Tibetans and kicking Tibetan puppies, did create the region's infrastrure, establish the region's secular education system, and distribute land amongst the former serfs and slaves. It is not a possibility the PRC might have accidentally done some good in the world amidst its evil-doing? Is it also not possible that a collection of living saints as virtuous as the pre-1959 Tibetan government might have accidently done some bad?

Ik kan ook mijn eigen taal schrijven om anderen - niet-landgenoten - buiten de discussie te sluiten. Het zegt wat over de persoon die dit doet.

Let us be sensible and let us break down the walls!

well, i wanna say there is not justice at all but profit, to be honest, i thibk people should think in different situation, but please, do not do and make judgement with 2 different standards, i can say people who says she is hero and support tibet indepentence are all from your own standard, but how about others? how much do you really know about the truth? no one knows, we only want to see the thing we want to see, in some way, we are blind, how can you know your hypothesis is 100% right? how can you know that will be best for them, so does to people who live around tibet? and how much you defently know about the history and cuilture,

yeah, you are rgiht. the culture is tibet is changing, well, are you all expecting tibetens live a primordial life to satisfy your tourists' liking? how can you guys using big house and shower everyday, eating different kind of food from all over the world, then ask tibetens live in old form houses, no tv, no internet, nothing modern. right, you may say those won't ruin their culture, but i can tell it is bullshit, it is no doubt that mcdonald will raise their flag in tibet, their yellow and red evil flag. protect culture stuff is a question face to the whole world present can you say your culture are well protected, if so, then go and wear your 18th wig, that is the old fashion, but it is tradition. then who will take the responsibility of the culture annihilation in america and south america???

and is there anybody can guarantee that tibetens will live a much better life when they are free?? come on, it is not fucking 100 years ago when people had little connectoin with outside. people have needs, it is not only for sprits, we know that, don't pretend you are saint who only live with plain water, no woman, no house, nothing. and is there any body can take the responbility if tibetens live even worse?

there is no hypothesis, life and history can't be hypothesis.

life and politics are much much more complicated. if tibetens are free now, how about americans, europeans, and some Nepali, will you say they won't covet this tasty land?

yeah, human right is not so good in china, we all know that, but whoalse here do really know everything about china. of course there are children labors. it is also because of european and americans, you are using the product that poor chinese kids make, your contry and government are the root. if i am not wrong, people also used children labors during 18-19th in europe. think about china now, those poor people are living that kind of life your grand grand fathers had. i feel sorry for chinese kids. but when your goverments set hundreds of companies and factories in here, then your citizens can have such wonderful life in your home, enjoy the afternoon tea. 5 ays of work,million's stuff in the about raise all those made in china product 10 times of their present price. then lots of problems will be solved in china and asia.then parents will have enough salery to let their kids free, then less illegal chinese emigration.

also how about think about get those money back to china that you got after 1900? a lot, right? it is not some paper, it is real silver. then it all solve peoperly all economic and development troubles here.


Mona U bent van harte welkom om te schrijven in het Nederlands of een andere taal die je wilt.

We have always had commenters who prefer to write in Chinese. That language, particularly, is OK with us at Danwei because we are after all about China.


People in academia (other than Buddha Bob) view Tibet the same as any other country. I do not, and the people I studied under do not succumb to the Shangri-La myth. In fact, my argument has always been that that has done nothing but hurt the Tibetans cause. The Dalai Lama has also been detrimental in this regard, with his peace at all costs, flim-flammery. I think Jamyang Norbu has it right. If the fierce Cham-pa fighters would have ignored Tenzin Gyatso and continued their resistance to the invading imperialist PLA for longer the world would have recognized Tibet and come to their aid in a more open way. And so you know, Tibet was a shithole in terms of development pre-1949 and now it is nothing more than another rundown Chinese province. And what's worse, is that the ethnic cleansing is nearing completion. There are certainly far more transplanted Han Chinese in Lhasa than Tibetans. Prior to 1949, there were ZERO. The previous Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, kicked the last few ethnic Chinese out of Tibet in 1912.

All I am saying is that your resort to blaming Hollywood and all the Shangri-La hippies is weak and a non sequitur. Its a strawman. But for the record, I would rather be a hippie (which I am not) than a reactionary nationalist/imperialist.

Pelkyi Dorje






hen huang, hen baoli?!?! hahahahaha!

bjork wan sui!

Mr Dorje. I applaud you for your first paragraph. However:

"All I am saying is that your resort to blaming Hollywood and all the Shangri-La hippies is weak and a non sequitur. Its a strawman. But for the record, I would rather be a hippie (which I am not) than a reactionary nationalist/imperialist."

How can I not flame "Hollywood and all the Shangri-La hippies?" isn't the focus of this article some hippy and her idealist stunt? Unless I am mistaken, and Bjork is actually one of the "people in academia" capable of actual criticism besides shouting out the name of her subject twice.

Whether anything is right or wrong/evil or good in this world is up for history (the winner) to decide, but what I am damn tired of is these absolute statements calling anyone or anything "evil!" be it PRC, or Bush, Isreal, Capitalism, Putin, Whaling, or that damned "PC Brigade". I am also damn tired of these shouts of "Free Tibet just because!" "PRC is eeeevil!" "You are brain-washed because you do not agree with me!" (or "Tibet was part of China forever!" for that matter) Please, hippies and nationalists alike (especially the hippies), stop making a fool of yourselves and be more creative with your opinions! You may even convince a few idiots on the other side...

And Mr Dorje, dismissing an entire argument on the basis of "Strawman" is a logical fallacy in itself. Besides, if everyone else on these boards can make use of creative (or uncreative) rhetoric and posturing, why can't I?! If the anti-PRC club can balance out the *excess of PRC media representation in the western world with made-up stories, and celebrities (or academics such as Ms Bjork) can debate with nothing but emotional gestures, I should at least be able to try and get one past you with less than optimal arguments.

Is there real Chinese outrage over this incident? If yes it is totally unnecessary. To expect Bjork do anything meaningful for the cause of Tibetans is like expecting a dog to climb up a tree or a chicken to pee, good luck. She knew that. She staged a monkey show because that was her only way to try climbing out of history's dustbin to grab some attention. Yelling free Tibet to the Chinese made a point. But yelling Kosovo to the Japanese is totally nonsensical and pointless. Isn't her choice of political slogans, audience and platforms suspiciously unsystematic and whimsical? Why should the Chinese take this kind of infantile tantrum seriously? Do you know how old and out-dated she is? I am no expert but I think her music career ended at around the same time as Yamaguchi Momoe. And the last time I heard about her was in the early 1990s from Da Long, or David, the Mandarin speaking Swede on BTV. You old timbers in Beijing can go figure how ancient this piece of musical work is and how desperate she might be for some eyeballs. Cheap sensationalism must seem a low price in her state of mind. The only people who should be offended are the Tibetans. She was using their plight, suffering and deprivation as a vehicle to promote herself, without giving anything back. This is pure exploitation.


We can bemoan the fact that Tibetan culture is being dominated by an influx of Han Chinese but that is a very different issue to the question of sovereignty. Any serious student of Chinese history - not just those who scan it on the internet - knows that Tibet was an historical part of numerous contiguous Chinese empires.

You can also question Mao's overall legacy all you like but by marching into Tibet he was restoring greater China after various Western powers (USA included) tried to drug it on opium and rip it apart. Heck, the UK even tried to take Tibet as a colony at one point. That's not Chinese nationalism, just fact. For the record, I am not Chinese and I love Bjork but by singin about Tibet raising their flag she is showing herself up as an intellectual lightweight on a well-intentioned but ultimately mislead Hollywood bandwagon.

Flipside of all I just said is that I of course think she should be allowed to sing whatever she wants without people going completely bananas about her daring to express an opinion contrary to the official line.

thanks god! atleast someone dared to educate other than only goverment propanganda machine. just a nice lesson.

1) Bjork's statement demonstrated a profound misunderstanding of China and Chinese people. Given the social context, she was SIMPLY RUDE.

2) Bjork, however, should be allowed to be rude. She has always played obnoxious, painfully self-conscious music, but she is still an "artist" (I mean, in the way that Kanye West and human-excrement-spackling modern sculptors are artists). Artists should be able to make provocative statements.

3) Understanding "historical Tibet" can only be done by reading a wide range of sources (written by ethnic Tibetans, Chinese, Buddhists, and even Westerners).

4) Understanding the province called Tibet requires GOING THERE, and deciding for yourself if what you see is oppression, economic development, the natural merger of one culture into the modern world, or whatever else it is that you discover.

5) Your opinions about this matter will inevitably clash with those of others. Of course, the most important thing to remember is RESPECT. Respect the Tibetans who identify themselves with China. Respect the Tibetans who identify themselves with "Tibet". RESPECT CHINA (Bjork clearly failed to do this).

6) And last, RESPECT VOICES OF DISSENT, because QUESTIONING is not a crime. Questioning might make you rethink your position, or it might just make your resolve stronger, but either way try to accept it with a cool head.

-an American living in Shanghai.


对冰岛演员比约克上海演出事件 文化部表示在进一步调查核实后将依法进行处理: link

Personally, I'm glad finally someone has mentioned the word LAW here. Bjork incident is not a question about free speech, but her behaviour was indeed violated Chinese law. Whether the law itself should have changed or not, is belonged to another discussion. By entering Chinese border, she agreed to obey Chinese law. If she didn't agree with this, she shouldn't hold her concert in a Chinese city.

Also,, flagged and banned all Bjork related products, include video & audio product, posters, all kind of related merchandise. All products were offline now.

If is doing this, no doubt that all CD shops who sell the real copies would have her CD off the shelf.

When her incident first popped up on-line, the Chinese medias also expressed their upset to her. They said that she threated them that if she saw one camera following her in the airport, she would leave immediately. After her arrival, she cancelled the press meeting.

Bjork simply choose a wrong time (Kosovo has made the Tibet issue more sensitive), touched a wrong spot of a wrong audience, with a badly handled management. A simple apology could have gave the whole thing a completely different ending.

In conclusion, it would be confident to predict that for quite a long period of time, she won't get any publicity in China at all. I feel really really sorry for her fans in China.


Why should the Chinese take this kind of infantile tantrum seriously? Because that is the currency of choice for despotic regimes such as the PRC. Or are they enlightened now because every third Chinese citizen has a cell phone (at least in the big cities)?


What does RESPECT CHINA mean? China has ZERO respect for the world or any of its citizens. You think this should be a one way street? That's BS. Call them (the PRC/CCP) out. If Bjork upsets them, what the hell are they going to do during the Olympics. Oh yeah, they are just going to jail everyone with an independent thought. The crime, you ask? DISSIN' THEIR LITTLE EGOS (as a government that have concerns that they are collectively lacking in stature between the legs). Please don't cry.

Pelkyi Dorje

Pelkyi Dorje

You act like you are part of the infantile tantrum. Calm down, it adds no credibility to your arguments. In my humble opinion, the Bjork incident is a good thing, from an educational point of view. It educates the Chinese population that there are a lot of assh*les in the world, and that China's "coming out" or emergence or whatever you call it, is no dinner party, just like good old Chairman Mao used to advise us little kids. It also educates Bjork's Chinese fans that this is what you get if you take creepy slimy stuff as cool; take that.

"China has ZERO respect for the world or any of its citizens."

Have you visited China or are you simply out of touch with reality? I don’t know about China's respect for the world, but on my last trip back to BJ I was treated with respect by everyone. The first person I exchanged a complete sentence with after landing on Chinese soil was the police officer at the airport border control. His warm words of welcome back (after many years) moved me almost to tears. I vigorously shock his hands for a full minute, to the embarrassment of all the onlookers. Throughout my stay in BJ everyone treated me nicely (hometown people had changed). On the crowded bus I counted a total of five times young people giving up seats to old ladies (but not to old guys, strangely) and women with small kids over a period of 2 weeks. At least in BJ I experienced harmonious society and felt the pride of being from a good place.

I have never talked to a Tibetan person. I have no desire to impose a Chinese identity on them. But I do know this kind of things are not determined by ideologies like self-determination; China calculates the strategic implications. If the Chinese moved out completely today, does anyone believe Tibet will remain independent tomorrow?

I'm sorry but your response is ridiculous. The first paragraph is tripe. There is no response except to ask if you have a brain of your own? And no, I am not upset. I am perfectly calm as I am writing this.

The remainder of your post is just as ridiculous and demonstrates that you just don't get it. I have been to both China and Tibet and the people are generally wonderful. I like them alot and think China is one of the most fascinating places on the planet with an amazing, rich history. Its the government that's the problem. Its the way they treat their own citizens particularly the minority groups such as Tibetans and Uighurs. Its the way they are in bed with even more despotic regimes such as Sudan and Myanmar. (And don't give me the hypocrite bullshit because I feel the same way about the US relationships with Saudi Arabia, etc). Its the way they are in the process of ruining Africa in order to extract its minerals and oil. I have been to Africa and saw that first hand as well.

And the fact that you have never met a Tibetan is telling as is your little condescending attempt to "reject Han Chauvinism" by stating you wouln't want to project your CHinese identity is interesting when you take into consideration that the Chinese project in Tibet has done just that. There is very little "Tibetanness" left other than in exile.

I thought I was done replying to this thread but the reason I came back and ended up responding to bianxiangbianqiao was that I saw that the US press has finally started picking up on the Bjork story and I came across something that was just perfect. And I am not making this up:

"A statement by China's Culture Ministry said Bjork's outburst 'broke Chinese law and hurt Chinese people's feelings.'"

Wow. What, does the CCP think that its citizens are that wimpy? And the fact that what she did is against the law proves everything I have said on this thread. Unbelievable.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

"Why should the Chinese take this kind of infantile tantrum seriously? Because that is the currency of choice for despotic regimes such as the PRC. Or are they enlightened now because every third Chinese citizen has a cell phone (at least in the big cities)?"

--Hey! at least China spreads and rotates its despotism amongst its thousands of ineffective CPC bureaucrats and officials. Tibet wields its despotism in a single person for life! then transfers that despotism to his reincarnation after he dies! Despot for eternity! "Despotic?" Why not? Evil! Demonic and STDs-infested too! If such enlightened absolutism can bring me out of poverty and give me a cell phone and a nation that I can be a proud angry brain-washed nationalist about, I'd go with it.

"What does RESPECT CHINA mean? China has ZERO respect for the world or any of its citizens. You think this should be a one way street? That's BS. Call them (the PRC/CCP) out."

--I do not remember the post-Mao PRC pushing their ideology (is it despotism?) onto the leaders of other nations, telling them how their state should be ruled (they dont even like Maoists LMao...). I don't remember the CPC imposing embargoes on "human rights abusers." Does the PRC support dissent and independence movements in other states? Does it send MSS (CPC's ghetto CIA) agents to assassinate foreign government leaders and incite rebellions?

"If Bjork upsets them, what the hell are they going to do during the Olympics. Oh yeah, they are just going to jail everyone with an independent thought."

--Was Bjork jailed? No. Does she even have an independent thought? probably not, since she just repeats what the western establishment and the hippies have been shouting for 50 years (on critical issues like this, they seem to agree). Besides, I don't think the CPC has to worry about jailing western atheletes. From what I have seen on these boards. Those stadiums full of brain-washed Chinese nationalists will skins these hippies alive before they can finish shouting. "Free Ti...AHHHH!!!11 MY FACE!1111"

"...Did someone say 'free tits?'"

"The crime, you ask? DISSIN' THEIR LITTLE EGOS (as a government that have concerns that they are collectively lacking in stature between the legs). Please don't cry."

--Surely! We all know that governments care about the size of their privates more than anything else! The PRC does not care about losing tourism and business, inflamming seperatist movements, or plane loads of bonhead celebrities giving them their healthy serving of moral absolutism. All they do is cry about the size of their privates (there is no asian stereotyping here at all!)... Also! Don't be dissin' Ego. Ego is important. Without Ego, those peace-loving freedom fighters wouldn't be blowing up buses because they are upset to be ruled by despotic dog or sheep. Without Ego, benevolent foreign governments wouldn't be interested in what happens in other nation's borders (because there is no such thing as national interest! only freedom! and EVIL!) Without Ego, you are I wouldn't be here spreading lies to prove our factual opinions, and you wouldn't resort to such a flimsy arguments about Ego.

Pelkyi Dorje,

China has ZERO respect for the world or any of its citizens.

Hello? R u from Mars? On the surface of earth, an argument with no valid fact means nothing.

Since when human being in this world asked you to be representitive of them? Since when Chinese people asked you to represente them?

If the Chinese moved out completely today, does anyone believe Tibet will remain independent tomorrow?

bianxiangbianqiao, that's a great point, and I really didn't wanted to even mention this in the previous comment. More than some short-sight people could see, Tibet has more value for China's defence purpose to ensure the peace of the entire E.Asia, which money can't buy; than just provide the rest of the country some raw materials, which money can buy. Any problem that can be solved by money is NOT a problem at all. Some westerner really should have shake that green paper out of their heads, it's rotting them.

Editor's note:

This thread has gone a little too far away from the subject matter of the post. We are now going to close the comments board for it.

We're pleased to note the diversity of the opinions that have been expressed here, and thank you all for your contributions.

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