Dylan plays Beijing, says nothing of fellow artist Ai Weiwei's detention:
...Perhaps mindful of the scrutiny of the Chinese Communist party, who requested 2,000 of the 18,000 seats at Beijing's Workers' Gymnasium, Mr Dylan left out some of his more famous protest songs, such as 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'The Times they Are a-Changin''.Meanwhile, stunningly, a PRI piece on the politics of Dylan's show fails to mention that Ai and an assistant are missing after police detained them and are being held incommunicado likely by law enforcement. The segment goes into great detail about Bjork's banning from the country after making pro-Tibet remarks during a concert, but neglects to mention the imprisonment of an artist so famous he's called "the Warhol of China."
Many observers had expected Mr Dylan to shock the mostly Chinese audience, perhaps by making a political statement or by voicing support for Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist who has not been heard from since police escorted him from Beijing airport last Sunday.
"It would have been a total disaster if he had said anything, this was a really high-profile event," said Archie Hamilton, a music promoter in China, recalling the near two-year ban on foreign acts that the Communist Party imposed after the Icelandic singer Bjork made a plea for Tibet at the end of a concert in Shanghai in 2008...
In other news, Ai's family has responded to a cryptic police statement that Ai is being investigated for "suspected economic crimes." From The Guardian:
Ai's older sister, Gao Ge, told Reuters: "The economic crimes report is absurd, because the way he was taken and then disappeared shows it's nothing of the sort. This is more like a crime gang's behaviour than a country with laws."Photo: Wikipedia
She said her brother had previously warned his family he might one day be jailed for his activities. "He was very clear that we shouldn't try to meddle and stop him speaking out ... My mother cried," she added.
Ai's mother, Gao Ying, said the "economic crimes" allegations were being used to stifle his activism, adding: "If he's not released, this will be the start of a long struggle ... They still haven't notified us why he was taken or where he is."