Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Book censorship in China

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Book censorship in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is implemented or mandated by the PRC's ruling party, the Communist Party of China.


Book censorship is widespread in China. Enforcement is strict and sometimes inconsistent. Punishment for violations can result in prison. The Chinese government is extremely sensitive to any opinions on the politics and history of China and its leaders that differ from currently sanctioned opinions or that discuss topics that are officially taboo. What is officially taboo can change over time.

As well as censoring the publication of such books within China and encouraging self censorship, the importation and dissemination of such material is often severely punished and circulation by the way of online files is strictly controlled. There are so many books and publications that are banned in China that it is impossible to list them all. Book types that are typically banned are as follows: Books about Chinese modern politics, biographies of former leaders. Books about the lives of or allegations concerning current leaders - these are particularly sensitive topics. Books concerning Tibet and Xinjiang that do less than fully endorse that these have always and will always be part of China Books about the Dalai Lama, about the June 4th 1989 Tiennanmen square massacre or the events of the Cultural Revolution. Books about the Falun Gong religious movement. Books of allegorical fiction that obliquely criticize the Chinese government.

China's state-run General Administration of Press and Publication (新闻出版总署) (GAPP) screens all Chinese literature that is intended to be sold on the open market. The GAPP has the legal authority to screen, censor, and ban any print, electronic, or Internet publication in China. Because all publishers in China are required to be licensed by the GAPP, that agency also has the power to deny people the right to publish, and completely shut down any publisher who fails to follow its dictates. Consequently, the ratio of official-to-unlicensed books is said to be 40%:60%. According to a report in ZonaEuropa, there are more than 4,000 underground publishing factories around China. The Chinese government continues to hold public book burnings on unapproved yet popular "spiritual pollution" literature, though critics claim this spotlight on individual titles only helps fuel booksales.

Some banned books are available in limited circulation to Communist party leaders, so they can better understand the oputside world. These books are marked as for internal use (內部) i.e. within the party only.

Hong Kong

Publishing in Hong Kong remains uncensored. Publishers such as New Century Press freely publish books, including lurid fictional accounts, about Chinese officials and forbidden episodes of Chinese history. Banned material including imported material such as that published by Mirror Books of New York City are sold in bookshops such as "People’s Commune bookstore" patronized by shoppers from the mainland.

List of banned books

This is a tiny portion of the thousands of books that have been, or are banned in China.


Book censorship in China Wikipedia

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