Bob Dylan Denies Chinese Concerts Were Censored by Government
In a rare and lengthy post on his official website titled "To my fans and followers," Bob Dylan slammed what he characterizes as inaccurate reports that claimed he censoried his setlist during his recent first shows in China.
First, he refuted reports that he was ever denied permission to perform in China, although multiple reports on the status of his shows and government concerns over what he might say at the shows were published earlier this year.
"This was all drummed up by a Chinese promoter who was trying to get me to come there after playing Japan and Korea," Dylan wrote. "My guess is that the guy printed up tickets and made promises to certain groups without any agreements being made. We had no intention of playing China at that time, and when it didn't happen most likely the promoter had to save face by issuing statements that the Chinese Ministry had refused permission for me to play there to get himself off the hook."
Dylan then went on to dispute a Mojo report that said his Chinese concerts "were attended mostly by ex-pats and there were a lot of empty seats." He said most of the ex-pats were actually at the Hong Kong, not Beijing show.
Next, he soundly refuted reports and criticism that he'd censored or altered his playlist after input from Chinese authorities. "As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months," he wrote. "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 signs off with a comical note encouraging "anybody who's ever met me, heard me or even seen me" to add to the "gazillion books on me" lined up for the coming months.