Life Goes On…Chinese book censorship becomes more censorial

Posted: 15 November, 2015 in world
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Northern Girls Life Sheng Keyi Just over a decade ago, Sheng’s best-selling breakthrough novel, Northern Girls , was published uncensored in mainland China to critical acclaim.But last month, as editors prepared to launch a third edition of the book, the author was informed that parts of her text were no longer publishable.

The censorship is related to the recent change of policy to allow Chinese couples to have two children instead of one. Now the censors seem keen to hide some of the nasty consequences of the previous policy.

One excerpt editors want to expunge from the latest edition of her 2004 novel refers to the forced abortions and sterilisations undergone by women as a result of China’s one-child policy, which was formally scrapped last month after 35 years. One of the offending lines reads:

Those who exceeded the bounds of family planning policies and found themselves pregnant again had to have abortions.

President Xi Jinping has been laying out a more censorial policy for literature. A speech from 2014 was recently published demanded that writers promote propaganda that the party’s core socialist values and spread positive energy with their work:

Good works of art and literature should be like the sunshine from a blue sky and the breeze of spring. They should enlighten, warm and cultivate.

Xi criticised writers speaking of the realities of Chinese life. He warned:

Some works ridicule what is noble and distort the classics, they subvert history and smear the masses and heroes. Some works make no distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, overplaying the dark side of society.


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