Bob Dylan applies to play China tour dates


Bob Dylan hasn't given up on China.

A year after refusing Dylan permission to play tour dates in Shanghai and Beijing, China's Ministry of Culture is reviewing an application for the Minnesota-born folk singer to schedule two shows in the country this spring, reports the Associated Press.

Last April, the Ministry of Culture told Dylan he wasn't allowed to perform in mainland China, forcing Dylan to cancel two scheduled tour dates.

The Ministry's reasoning was left up the rumor mill. Some suggested that financial problems with the concert promoter got in the way. Many speculated it was Dylan's reputation as a protest songwriter that put the Chinese government on edge.

If there's any truth to the latter theory, Icelandic singer Bjork may have closed some doors in 2008, when she began screaming "Tibet! Tibet! during the performance of a song called "Declare Independence" in Shanghai. The sentiment made a bad impression on some concert-goers, and -- presumably -- government officials.

Here's video from the concert:

For most neo-Dylan fans, the thought of the 69-year-old folk singer inciting some kind of major anti-government uprising borders on laughable. His days of protest songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" or "The Times Are A Changin'" ended decades ago.

Screenshot of Isis magazine already publishing the tour dates.
Screenshot of Isis magazine already publishing the tour dates.

Dylan's fans are clearly pretty optimistic about the application. Isis Magazine is already promoting an April 6 show at the Workers Gym venue in Beijing, and an April 8 show at Grand Stage in Shanghai.

However, according to the AP, nothing is official. After reviewing the application, the Ministry plans to publish the decision on its website.

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