China Bans Bob Dylan, Confusing Him for '60s Radical
It seems China has mistaken today's essentially harmless Bob Dylan with the counterculture hero of the 1960s -- the nation's ministry of culture deemed the icon unfit for concerts in Shanghai and Beijing this spring. As a result, Dylan has canceled the rest of his east Asian tour.
"It was not possible for him just to play concerts in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan," says Jeffrey Wu, of the Taiwan-based promoters Brokers Brothers Herald, in The Guardian. "The chance to play in China was the main attraction for him. When that fell through everything else was called off."
The Chinese gigs would have been a first for Dylan, 68, who still performs about 100 concerts per year.
Wu and various media have speculated the catalyst for China's scrutiny of Dylan likely stems from a 2008 Björk concert, during which the singer chanted, "Tibet! Tibet!" after a song titled 'Declare Independence.' The New York Times writes, "Later that year China imposed rules on such concerts, including one that said, 'Those who used to take part in activities that harm our nation's sovereignty are firmly not allowed to perform in China.'"
The Guardian, which also notes Oasis was refused entry to China last year in light of Noel Gallagher's participation in a Tibet freedom concert more than a decade ago, summed up this ludicrous situation perfectly:
"The Chinese seem to be worried that he might say or sing something politically sensitive, as Björk did in 2008. As if Dylan would. Don't the Chinese know that these days the 68-year-old former protest singer is a respectable golfer who released a Christmas album last year and has even allowed 'Blowin' in the Wind' to be used as the soundtrack of a TV commercial?"
Rolling Stone reports Dylan will play his next live show in Greece this May, kicking off a European tour.
Below, a video of Dylan performing 'The Times They Are a-Changin' at the White House earlier this year. Controversial stuff, no?
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