Bob Dylan denies censorship of China shows

Fri May 13, 2011 7:13pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rock legend Bob Dylan took to his website on Friday to dispute accusations he bowed to censorship for his first ever concerts in China last month.

Dylan was criticized by Western media and by Human Rights Watch for not performing some of his best-known protest songs on his China tour in April.

In a rare online posting, Dylan said Chinese authorities asked for the names of the songs he would play in their country.

Dylan said he sent Chinese officials his set lists from the previous three months of shows. He performed in Beijing on April 6 and Shanghai two days later.

"If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play," Dylan wrote in the post.

Media commentators cited the absence of songs "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Blowin' in the Wind" from Dylan's China set list as evidence that the counter-culture hero had caved to pressure.

Dylan, who turns 70 this month, said in his Web post that the audience in China, rather than clamoring for his 1960s material, "responded enthusiastically" to music from his last four or five albums.

In March, China's Culture Ministry said in a brief statement that an agreement to have Dylan sing in the country came with the proviso that he perform "the approved content."   Continued...