China Extends Its Censorship To Australian Books, Written By Australian Authors For Australian Readers

from the whatever-next? dept

News that China is extending its censorship to new domains barely provokes a yawn these days, since it’s such a common occurrence. But even for those jaded by constant reports of the Chinese authorities trying to control what people see and hear, news that it is now actively censoring books written by Australian authors for Australian readers is pretty breath-taking. The Chinese government has done this before for single books whose message it disliked, but now it seems to be part of a broader, general policy:

Publishing industry figures have confirmed that the censors from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China are vetting books sent by Australian publishers to Chinese printing presses, even though they are written by Australian authors and intended for Australian readers.

Any mention of a list of political dissidents, protests or political figures in China, including president Xi Jinping, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

As the story in the Australian newspaper The Age explains, the reason why Chinese censors are able to impose their views on books designed for the Australian market is that it’s cheaper to have books printed in China than in Europe, say, especially it if involves color illustrations. As a result, publishers can be faced with the choice of accepting Chinese demands, or not publishing the book at all because the costs are too high.

The list of taboo topics is long, albeit pretty specific to China. It includes mention of major Chinese political figures, such as Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping, as well as a list of 118 dissidents whose names may not be mentioned. Political topics such as Tiananmen Square, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Tibetan independence, Uyghurs and Falun Gong are all out. Pornography is completely forbidden, but even artistic nudity can be censored. The Chinese authorities are very sensitive to how maps are drawn, since they can involve disputed borders. More surprising is the ban on mentioning major religions.

The Age article notes that the rules had been in place for some time, but largely ignored. Now, however, the censors are checking every page of every book, and enforcing the rules strictly. It’s yet another sign of Xi Jinping’s obsessive desire to control every facet of life — even outside China, if he can.

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Comments on “China Extends Its Censorship To Australian Books, Written By Australian Authors For Australian Readers”

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71 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

The Iron Fist of the Glorious Leader

Well that’s one way to convince people not to do business with you, attempt to force your taboo’s/forbidden topics even on people in other countries.

Mind, it is kinda funny in a warped way that they are so iron-fisted/dictatorial that even books merely made in the country are required to adhere to their absurd list of ‘forbidden words/topics’, lest they make mention of That Which Shall Not Be Named/Remembered/Said.

As a result, publishers can be faced with the choice of accepting Chinese demands, or not publishing the book at all because the costs are too high.

Or, you know, raising the price to compensate and having a preface explaining why it’s priced higher, just as a little ‘Screw you’ aimed at China.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Iron Fist of the Glorious Leader

Huh…. Our glorious government here in Australia has recently come under cyber attack from China but they’re too gutless to name them. Trade, you know, old chap.

I CAN’T WAIT until the only things I read are given the approval of a Communist regime. Life will be so much simpler.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Uppity

Not exactly, but this kind of attempt doesn’t seem too far from what’s being done in Chna:

https://slate.com/technology/2013/09/texas-science-textbooks-creationists-try-to-remove-evolution-from-classrooms.html

Sure, you have rules that have thankfully made such attempts unsuccessful thus far, but there’s plenty who would happily adopt China’s stance if they could.

Rog S. says:

Re: Re: Uppity

Out of touch, much?

Since Patriot Act 1, activists have been murdered, stalked, framed, harrassed, jailed; and targeted by American police and FVEYs IC in ways as yet to be described fully in the press.

Just because you cant see the big cartoon rubber stamp and the red ink pad doesnt mean the west isnt censoring.

Try discussing SPLC -ADL deplatforming, or Wikileaks Vault 7. Or Black Lives Matter, before it was co -opted.

I double dick dare you to start a blog or Twitter account that focuses on criticizing the apathy surrounding police brutality, the FOP, or any of many other surveillance state apparatchiks and their Deep State troll farms.

Maybe you dont think dead/imprisoned /distupted activists count as state censorship, but I bet many of them would disagree.

Rog S. says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Uppity

Im not sure what to make of your comment, Nasch.

But members of my family were involved in the aftermath of the FBIs calculated execution of Mark Clark in Chicago, and other members of my family were involved with both Kennedy and John Connolly, who was shot in JFKs limo.

The proof is everywhere, when you know where to look. The question is, how can we get democracy back from our beloved COUNTELPRO 2.0 fans, and their literal battalions of Twitter /Facebook /WaPo /Techdirt speech monitors?

What proof are you asking me for, Nasch- and why are you asking me, some John Dough-and one individual -on a blog forum, rather than organizing to ask congress, et al.?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: ... nope, view's still fine

There’s censorship in the US sure, but the government is prohibited from engaging in it for the most part, and when they step over the line the first amendment allows the public to push back. Contrast that with China where it’s the government demanding censorship of various topics that they find ‘inconvenient’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Uppity

The US would never actually ban your book, magazine, publication or whatever but some nasty, souless people would show up on your door with writs threatening jailtime and extreme and dire poverty. Social groups would assault you, shame you in public, vandalize your property and threaten your family.

It’s much better in the US. Right?

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

All books should be electronic by now.

Like hell. I collect first editions by several authors and the last thing I want is my book collection existing solely on an iPad somewhere. I like to be able to look at them on the shelf, hold them in my hands, etc.

Or as Giles the librarian said to Jenny Calendar on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER:

JENNY: Honestly, what is it about computers that bothers you so much?

GILES: The smell.

JENNY: Computers don’t smell, Rupert.

GILES: I know. Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer has no texture, no context. It’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then the getting of knowledge should be tangible. It should be smelly.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

With an eBook, you can have 100 other things to read or buy one without getting up or taking up much room in your case. I know I’d rather carry around the collected works of Stephen King on my Kindle..

Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages of course, but I don’t think eBook readers are as fragile as you guys seem to think they are.

Daydream says:

Maybe China itself should be censored.

Remove China from Google Maps and other published atlases, relabel the land as part of Russia or India or Mongolia or Kazakhstan or whichever. Or remove the landmass entirely, replace it with, say, a Crescent Sea.

Chinese the language doesn’t exist, it’s another type of Japanese/Korean kanji/hanja/etc. Chinese rice doesn’t exist, it’s asian rice. Those people with narrowly-shaped eyes are of Mongol descent. It’s fine porcelain.

Basically, if China wants people to shut up, then by all means, give it the silent treatment.

In China Now says:

...the first stone.

The more I read Techdirt, the more it occurs to me that the authors are all religiously motivated.

And the China bashing rants sound like something out of a 1970s Catholic catechism.

Maybe deal with the pro -neocon censorship agenda in the west first, before you bitch about how cheap Chinese publishing carries ideological costs.

Oh noooes, no porn! Who will support the Israeli -Russian mob -Hollywood porn publishers! ?

Oh nooes! They wont print bullshit western propaganda about tax dodger Ai Weiwei, who is just oh so loved by champagne liberals, Haym Saban, and eastern block gangster descended cismopolitan Jews (cismopolitan is not a typo)!

TDs form of liberalism far too often lines up with neocon tribal agendas, and begins to look like a real atheist -phobic space with all these religion derived rants from the ideologues of Jewish-christian culture, and all of its Abrahamic bastard religions, jockeying for a piece of Chinas ass, while arguing about minutae of Babylonian cosmology, lashon hara and its wimmins pertecktin ways; while in China, actual sex, not porn, is available for 20 to a hundred bucks, all night long from women who drive Mercedes, and BMWs.

And, where many secretly laugh at how China virtually owns huge chunks of Australia, half of California, and ALL of its own internet, lol.

Rog S. says:

Re: Re: Re: ...the first stone.

balabala.

Dont you have some Smoloko memes that you could be writing Ben Garrisons name on or something?

And Tianenmen, really?

Ancient history. Is that the best dirt you have in China? You should look up “Ferguson activists suicides ”or Freddie Gray, and get back to me. That shit happened just a couple years ago.

Pathetic.

And that, from people who deny Americas 2.3 incarcerated individuals basic reading materials, proper medical care, and rape kits-much less rare, treasured first editions of Taylor Swifts poetry on Kindle.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ...the first stone.

"And Tianenmen, really?"

You’re hallucinating again, I didn’t mention that. Maybe you should read before commenting, or at least learn how to use the commenting system?

"You should look up"

Although, I believe the point that the person who did mention it is that we CAN look up those things, whereas Chinese people are prohibited from finding out about Tianenmen.

"And that, from people who deny Americas 2.3 incarcerated individuals"

This is coming from the privatised prison system and the "tough on crime" right wingers who put people there for minor offenses that most liberals wouldn’t even consider crimes (weed possession, etc.)?

In China Now says:

Re: Re: Re:3 ...the first stone.

Most Chinese are taught about Tianenmen by word of mouth, many saw it on TV as it happened (much like Kent State, or Baltimore, etc. ) and are more aware of Tianenmen than Americans are aware of COINTELPRO, the IWW, or the Hay Market Riots; or Fusion Center spying (or the cockroaches at the switch who intercept my posts as they work their way to TD, lol ).

But your analyses of the PIC is entirely, horrifically flawed, because it was also the Domestic Violence Industrial Complex and its demonization of men in general that built the ideological basis for prison growth.

The gendering of violence as male allowed for the "othering " of lower income males, and the Drug War that fed off of them.

And considering that a federal judge has now ruled the draft unconstitutional (fifty years too late ) thanks to the hard work of the National Center for Men, and that women should be conscripted so as to be equal, it is a win /win for both global communism, and the MIC.

Really -you are arguing from a message in a bottle, or, a bong in your case, written in 1969.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 ...the first stone.

"many saw it on TV as it happened "

As you mentioned, it was a long time ago, there’s at least one, maybe 2 generations who could not have done that. So, you’re saying it’s OK because someone might happen to mention it to them? So, by your own admission they have less access to the knowledge than Americans have to the list of things you gave, any of which is just a Google search away for you, whereas a Chinese person searching for the 1989 event will be blocked? Glad you agree with the point being made.

"The gendering of violence as male"

Oh, FFS. The high prison population is because of feminism now? Whatever it takes not to realise it’s the "team" you cheerleader for, I suppose.

"you are arguing from a message in a bottle, or, a bong in your case"

I think someone needs to put down the crack pipe, and it’s not the guy typing from his desk in Spain…

In China Now says:

Re: Re: Re:5 ...the first stone.

Paul, dont even try to put words in my mouth.

But only because I know you dig pure shit out of your ass and fling it at people, and seldom wash your hands.

The Chinese are far wiser, and have much more access to these things than you do.

But they just dont care about it. Its stupid, petty, useless information that has no effect on their broader knowledge base, or their far older cultural framework.

So, what are you on about? 1989? Did you not get a prom date that year, or…? ?

And, yeah, violence is gendered male in the US and the rest if the neocon west, starting with the very title if VAWA.

Any moron, you included, who has ever even slightly peeked at Eastern Block Dworkinite-MacKinnon feminist literature, or its more rational cohorts like Camille Paglia, Erin Pizzey, Gloria Steinem, and even that fake-feminist pink poodle Jessica Valenti and her minions would know that.

But not you, in Spain, FOR SOME REASON, lol. If the,US is so sweet, get your ass back there then.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 ...the first stone.

"So, what are you on about? 1989?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Tiananmen_Square_protests

I found that link through Google, a power not currently in the hands of Chinese internet users. For someone ranting about the facts of what people know about that event, you seem to be rather ignorant of them…

"If the,US is so sweet, get your ass back there then."

Why would I when I wasn’t born there? I thought you were one of those xenophobic morons willing to sacrifice your rights because you’re scared of immigrants? Now you’re encouraging more? Interesting…

Hasbara troll #145279365821458 says:

Re: Re: Re:7 ...the first stone.

What a Mulligan chopping, sand trapping presumptuous ass you are.

But then again, I thought you were a former priest or rabbi, cum convicted pedophile whose only place to be heard is here at TD.

You have never read a word I ever wrote.

No one wants Google, the CIA /JTRIG /Mossads main propaganda vehicle/ HUMINT collection in China.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:8 ...the first stone.

We get it, you’re a paid agent of walking human atrocity Xi Jinping, who is so thin-skinned he banned Winnie the Pooh because some people had the audacity to put his picture alongside that of the Bear of Very Little Brain.

It really is a misrepresentation – Winnie the Pooh is actually rather admirable. The same cannot be said of China’s not-so-illustrious leader.

Rog S. says:

Re: Re: Re:5 ...the first stone.

More, or less garbled that the Twitter Outrage machine, or the Facebook, et al Free Speech Steamroller, which was funded by CIA InQtel, and inter -linked with Fusion Centers ?

Yeah, my ears hurt from alk the whispering allright. But I think that was the NSA leaked lical, via Fusion Centers, to lical LEOs and community mobs.

LOL. R emember the 1980s, when the freedumb livin ’Mericans called such an inconceivably unconstitutional apparatus a conspiracy theory?

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