Rock legend Bob Dylan took to his website to dispute accusations he bowed to censorship for his first-ever concerts in China last month.

Dylan was criticized by Human Rights Watch for not performing some of his best-known protest songs on his China tour.

In a rare online posting, Dylan said Friday that Chinese authorities asked for the names of the songs he would play in their country, Reuters reports.

Dylan said he sent Chinese officials his set lists from the previous three months of shows. He performed in Beijing on April 6 and in Shanghai two days later.

"If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play," Dylan wrote in the post.

Media commentators cited the absence of songs "The Times They Are A-Changin' " and "Blowin' in the Wind" from Dylan's China set list as evidence that the counter-culture hero had caved to pressure.

In March, China's Culture Ministry said in a brief statement that an agreement to have Dylan sing in the country came with the proviso that he perform "the approved content."

China's censors have been sensitive in the past to subversive political content as well as references to sex, drugs and religion in songs by Western performers.

Dylan, who turns 70 May 24, did open his China shows with his overtly Christian 1979 song "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking," from the period soon after Dylan embraced Christianity for a number of years.

Picking the best of Bob

No reason to get excited, as Bob Dylan once sang, but the bard's 1965 anthem "Like a Rolling Stone" has been declared his greatest song by none other than Rolling Stone magazine. Its cover story marking Dylan's 70th birthday lists his 70 greatest songs, as determined by a panel of writers, academics and musicians.

The top 5

1. Like a Rolling Stone

2. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

3. Tangled Up in Blue

4. Just Like a Woman

5. All Along the Watchtower

Source: Reuters

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