How long must it be for Liu Xiaobo to be jailed for doing no wrong? How would we’ve known that Ai Weiweican be taken away for so long?How will Bob sing to a crowd,and look at Mao Zedong?

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The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years will they keep Shi Taoin a cell for leaking a plan,It would’ve kept the young and oldignorant of the lone tank man,So Shi Tao lets it free on the Net,breaking the ban, not the man!

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many millions will they send to the camp,for disturbing peace in a city?How many more will be re-educatedin Lao Gai’s university?What will it take for Bob to know,that ignorance is naivete?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years will they keep them banned,the people of Falun Gong?How many leaders of the world around,will let the Reds prolongthe stamping of voices and hopes and dreamsof a nation—a billion strong?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many parents must tell their kids,to look down, not to ask, and keep mum?How many teachers must tell students,that obedience trumps freedom?How many countries would jail a monk,for saying

*om mani padme hum*?The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many farmers will lose their land,so princelings can play in the wild?How many mums will let their girls die,because a son must be the only child?How can Bob raise a toast and say ganbei,with men who are so quick to get riled?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How do you get Bob to see straightinto the eye of the thugs,How can he look past the luxurious hall,where the walls conceal the bugs,And how will he find the bones that lie,swept away under the rugs?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

What will they name the cup of tea Bob will be given: Jasmine or Green?Both have annoyed thugs in Tunis and Iran,Will Beijing change what it means?How will they fake some harmony,And avoid making a scene?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many times will Bob stop and stareat the tall skyline of Pudong?How many times will he express awehow China looks like Hong Kong?Will he now cheer the wealth around,and sing a revolutionary song?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many times will Bob pause to thinkbeyond their empty boast?How many years will it take for themto accept the lives that were lost,in what they called the great leap forwardturning men into hungry ghosts?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years does it take a hero,to become a paper icon?How many years till he leaves the tent,for a home in the ‘burbs with a lawn?And how many times can a man turn his back,and let the past be gone?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many bows must our old Bob do,before Hu will let him sing? How many songs drops he from his list,before he knows he won’t be him,And how many fans is he ready to lose,for a night’s gig at Beijing’s gym?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist,before it is washed to the sea?How many years can some people exist,before they’re allowed to be free?And how many times can a man turn his head,and pretend that he just doesn’t see?*

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,the answer is blowing in the wind.

**This stanza is from Bob Dylan’s*Blowing in the Wind.

*Salil Tripathi is a writer based in London. Your comments are welcome at salil@livemint.com*