from the purely-for-your-own-protection dept
The increasing economic, political, and military power of China is evident. Less obvious is how China and its citizens are starting to impose their views and rules on other nations in more subtle ways. For example, in February last year, Techdirt wrote about how China is actively censoring books written by Australian authors for Australian readers. The Norway Today site reports on the latest attempt by Chinese citizens to censor material in other countries. It involves a delegation of more than 40 Chinese cross-country skiers, along with 15 coaches and managers, who are in the Norwegian municipality of Meråker to train for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics:
in recent weeks there have been three incidents concerning Chinese literature at the library in Meråker. Among the books the delegation wanted removed is one about the Falun Gong movement that has been banned in China since 1999.
The reason for the Chinese attempt to censor a Norwegian local library is interesting:
“They have said that if any of the Chinese skiers are caught with these books, they are afraid that they would risk being sent to labor camp or prison in China,” [library manager Anne] Marken told the newspaper.
To Marken’s credit, the library has refused categorically to remove any books: “We have freedom of speech in Norway so that was completely out of the question.” It’s only a small incident, easily overlooked. But if it can happen in a tiny local library in the depths of Norway, just because a few Chinese skiers were training there, it is highly likely to start happening in other places, where more Chinese citizens are present, and where China has greater economic and political influence.