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China blocks Bob Dylan concerts

Taiwanese and Korean dates also canceled

BEIJING — The times they are not a-changin’.

Bob Dylan has canceled the Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean legs of his Asian tour after Beijing’s culture ministry refused him permission to play in China.

The concerts were announced in January but then there was little follow-up on when and where they would take place.

“China’s Ministry of Culture did not give us permission to stage concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, so we had no alternative but to scrap plans for a Southeast Asian tour,” Jeffrey Wu, of the Taiwan-based promoters Brokers Brothers Herald, told local press in Hong Kong.

Many fans had been skeptical about Dylan’s chances of getting permission for the Chinese leg of the tour from the get-go because controversial artists are rarely allowed to play in China, especially since Iceland’s Bjork shouted Tibetan independence slogans at the end of a concert in Shanghai in 2008.

Celine Dion, hardly the most controversial of warblers, was also refused permission to perform in 2008.

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