The influential Lifeweek magazine in China ran a cover story on Bob Dylan, the man who built the myth of protest rock in the U.S. The cover line read “The Answer Is Still Blowing in the Wind.”
Dylan came to China to perform for the first time in his career Wednesday night. But for concertgoers, the iconic song referenced on the magazine cover was not to be heard. Chinese government censors allowed Dylan to play only after preapproving a list of acceptable songs. “Blowin’ in the Wind” got knocked out for “Forever Young.”
The Post’s Keith Richburg writes:
His set list — which mixed some of his newer songs alongside classics made unrecognizable by altered tempos — was devoid of any numbers that might carry even the whiff of anti-government overtones.
There was no “Times They Are a-Changin’ ” in China. And definitely no “Chimes of Freedom.”
The visit comes at a tense time of scrutiny on China’s censorship program, with the recent arrest of hundreds of activists, including the artist Ai Weiwei. Dylan will play in Shanghai on Friday.
Here’s what the Chinese government asked the singer not to play: