Has China Put A Stop To Bob Dylan Performances? A report out of Hong Kong suggests that the Chinese Ministry of Culture has yanked permission for Bob Dylan to perform this month in Shanghai and Beijing. The report has not been confirmed by Dylan's management nor by the ministry. Melissa Block and Michele Norris discuss the matter.
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Has China Put A Stop To Bob Dylan Performances?

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Has China Put A Stop To Bob Dylan Performances?

Has China Put A Stop To Bob Dylan Performances?

Has China Put A Stop To Bob Dylan Performances?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/125639650/125639950" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A report out of Hong Kong suggests that the Chinese Ministry of Culture has yanked permission for Bob Dylan to perform this month in Shanghai and Beijing. The report has not been confirmed by Dylan's management nor by the ministry. Melissa Block and Michele Norris discuss the matter.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Yesterday in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson had to deal with a question that was a bit out of the ordinary for her. It concerned, of all things, Bob Dylan. Was it true, asked the reporter, that the Chinese government was banning the singer-songwriter from performing this month in Shanghai and Beijing?

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Well, the government representative sidestepped the issue and said simply that this was not an issue of foreign policy nor politics. Nonetheless, the report in the South China Morning Post said that China's ministry of culture had rained hard on Dylan's plans to do concerts in the People's Republic.

A promoter was the source for the news. He said that the ban in China meant there would be no Dylan tour of Southeast Asia either. The promoter pointed out that a pro-Tibet outburst by the singer Bjork last year tightened Chinese scrutiny for all Western performers.

BLOCK: It's not that Dylan is like a complete unknown in China. In fact, he's quite popular there. Here's pop star Zhou Hua Jian singing Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."

(Soundbite of song, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door")

Mr. ZHOU HUA JIAN (Singer): (Foreign language spoken)

(Singing) Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door. Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door...

BLOCK: But maybe China's objection to Bob Dylan's tour is all a matter of bad translation. Did they hear a rage against agricultural policy of 1960s with Dylan's I ain't gonna work on Maggie's collective farm no more?

NORRIS: Or a violation of the one child policy, "It's All Over Now, Baby Two"?

(Soundbite of song, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door")

Mr. JIAN: (Singing) Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door. Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door...

NORRIS: We contacted Bob Dylan's office in the U.S., but we haven't heard back.

(Soundbite of song, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door")

Mr. JIAN: Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door.

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