By Joseph Brannigan Lynch
Updated March 14, 2011 at 03:49 PM EDT
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

For the first time ever, Chinese officials are permitting legendary folk singer Bob Dylan to play the People’s Republic of China. The 69-year-old icon will be playing Beijing between March 30 and April 12, with a Shanghai date to follow, according to the Chinese Ministry of Culture.

Dylan was reportedly going to folk-rock Beijing and Shanghai last year until difficulties with the Ministry (perhaps too much red tape? HA!) and financial disputes with promoters led to a cancellation.

Still, the Bob Dylan arriving in China won’t exactly be the Freewheelin‘ one most audiences are used to—the Chinese government will have veto power over his set list, which probably means that Chinese fans who have waited decades to see him play on their home soil shouldn’t expect to hear many of Dylan’s civil rights-era anthems or anti-war “finger-pointing” songs.

Then again, maybe China’s Ministry of Culture just wants to make sure he doesn’t play any of the born-again Christian stuff, and could you really blame them? Also, fun trivia: Bob Dylan is actually eight years older than the People’s Republic of China.

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