Add one more to the list of reasons why I feel bad for people living in China. Don’t get me wrong; this is not me saying that China sucks or that the people suck. Mostly just their government sucks (cut to this article being banned on Chinese computers.) The latest reason: Folk icon Bob Dylan has been forced to cancel his upcoming visit to the country on account of his reputation. That’s right, he was given the red light because he has a tendency to cause a stir.
After wrapping up a 14-day tour in Japan and a stop in Seoul, South Korea, Dylan’s plans were to perform shows in Shanghai and Beijing, which were set to be the musician’s first in the country. And he’s Bob Dylan. He’s been everywhere. I bet China was screamin’ hot excited to get a piece of that action. Well, it’s not happening now, thanks to the Minister of Culture’s fear that Dylan’s past change-mongering ways would rear their revolutionary head if he played in the country.
The thought is that China, whose government is notoriously discerning when it comes to the outside influence it allows their populace to be exposed to, is even more cautious than it used to be when it comes to allowing in performers who have a history of political statements and revolutionary incitements since 2008. That year, Björk started chanting “Tibet! Tibet!” during her song “Declare Independence” while playing a show in Shanghai. Naturally, that didn’t go over too well. According the Chinese concert promoter (and the guy who booked Dylan’s now cancelled shows), “What Björk did definitely made life very difficult for other performers. They are very wary of what will be said by performers on stage now.”
The ruling has resulted in a blow to other nearby populations; with China out of the picture, Mr. Dylan decided it wasn’t worth going ahead with his planned shows in Taiwan or Hong Kong either. Way to go ruining everyone’s fun, Minister of Culture.