Icelandic singer Bjork has ignited criticism from Chinese fans after ending a passionate performance of her song Declare Independence with the cry "Tibet! Tibet!" during a concert in Shanghai.

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Pop singer Bjork performs in Shanghai on Sunday. ((Associated Press))

The outburst at the finale of Bjork's Sunday-night concert drew rare public attention inside China to Beijing's rule over Tibet.

Bjork's statement was not reported in Chinese news media but online sites were aflame with angry comment after word leaked out.

"If she really did this, then this woman really makes people throw up," one comment on popular Chinese website Sina.com said.

Some concertgoers said the politically tinged finale made audience members uneasy.

"The atmosphere was very strange, uncomfortable compared to the rest of the concert," said audience member Stephen Gow, a British teacher who lives in Shanghai.

People didn't boo, Gow said, but they left the Shanghai International Gymnastic Centre hurriedly.

Officials at the China-based company promoting the concert, Emma Ticketmaster, said they had no comment.

The lyrics of Bjork's Declare Independence include the entreaty "Raise your flag!"

She has used the song in the past to declare political support for various causes.

She dedicated the song to Kosovo while performing last month in Japan. Her video for the song shows her in a jumpsuit bearing the flags of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, far-flung territories controlled by Denmark.

China's 58-year rule over the formerly independent mountain country of Tibet has drawn frequent condemnation from foreign governments and activists. Chinese people typically react to such condemnation with prickly nationalism.