The rules say that the background credentials of performers from foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will be scrutinized. “Those who used to take part in activities that harm our nation’s sovereignty are firmly not allowed to perform in China,” the rules say.
They also call for barring performers who promote ethnic hatred or “advocate obscenity or feudalism and superstition.”
The rules are the latest attempt by China to clamp down on any political dissent before the Beijing Olympics, which begin on Aug. 8. Government officials have set up security checkpoints throughout Beijing, deported some foreigners or refused to renew visas and shut down protests by grieving parents whose children died in school collapses in the May 12 earthquake.
China had promised a more open atmosphere this summer and had told the IOC that it would adhere to strict standards for human rights. Many people outside China now doubt its commitment to those pledges.
The rules on performers may have come about after an outburst in March by bjork, the popular Icelandic singer. She used a concert in Shanghai to advocate Tibetan independence. She shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” after performing “Declare Independence,” a song from her 2007 album, “Volta.” The outcry drew sharp criticism from Chinese Internet users and praise from international supporters of an independent Tibet.
The Chinese government often says the invasion of Tibet by the People’s Liberation Army in 1950 led to the overthrow of a feudal system that was kept in place by the Dalai Latma and his predecessors.
Interestingly, the new rules on entertainment also apply to performers from Hong Kong and Macao, both former European colonies now administered by China. In Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island off the coast of Fujian Province, some entertainers advocate formal independence for Taiwan and are considered dangerous by Chinese officials.