Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: China’s Culture of Censorship in the Limelight

Oct 17 Update

纽约时报中文网:美国 12 家出版商集体对中国审查说不

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Oct 16 2015

In Phil Collins and Ai Weiwei Make Waves at Frankfurt Book Fair, we learn that China’s repugnant censorship practices are generating some real pushback:

The fair also saw China accepted as the newest member of the International Publishers Association – a move that was swiftly followed by the announcement of a new pledge from Pen American Center. Signed by 12 US publishers, it is intended to address censorship in Chinese translations of books by foreign authors.

The pledge (PDF) says that many authors are unaware cuts are made to their work to comply with the Chinese government’s censorship regime, pointing to Andrew Solomon, who only discovered that sections from his book The Noonday Demon, a study of depression which includes details of his life as a gay man, had been cut from the Chinese edition after Pen compared the two versions years after its release.

The 12 publishers, which include Hachette, Macmillan and Penguin Random House, pledged to “require that any cuts or changes to the text must be approved by the author”, and to “work only with trusted Chinese publishing partners who will communicate openly regarding censorship issues”.

See also Pro-active Guide for Foreign Scribes: How to Deal with Censorship of Your Writing in Xi Dada’s China for a summary of Pen America’s damning report released in May 2015, Censorship and Conscience: Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship.

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