Archive for the ‘Book Censorship’ Category

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sarft logo Chinese government censors are reading Australian publishers’ books and, in some cases, refusing to allow them to be printed in China if they fail to comply with a long list of restrictions.

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, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
  • The list of prohibitions mentions key political incidents, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the 2014 umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. The Tibetan independence movement, Uighur nationalism and Falun Gong are also taboo subjects.
  • Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee is ruled out, as is a long list of 118 dissidents who are not allowed to be mentioned.
  • Most major religions are also on the sensitive list, as well as a long list of Chinese, or former Chinese locations, most relating to current or former border disputes. The printer’s guidance says these things can be published after vetting by censors.
  • Pornography was ruled out entirely, but artistic nudity or sexual acts could be censored in 10 working days.

Printing books, particularly those with colour illustrations, is significantly cheaper in China, so some publishers have little choice but to put them through the government censorship process.

Sandy Grant, of publisher Hardie Grant, said he had scrapped a proposed children’s atlas last year because the censors ruled out a map showing the wrong borders.(probably to do with Chinese claims about Taiwan or Tibet). European alternatives were considered economically unviable.

A printing industry source who works with Chinese presses confirmed that the rules, in theory, had been in place for a long time, but that, all of a sudden they’ve decided to up the ante. They’re checking every book; they’re very, very strict at the moment. I don’t know how they’re reading every book, but they definitely are, the printer said. The change had happened in the past few months.

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Blood Heir An up-and-coming young author has cancelled the publication of her highly anticipated debut novel received a barrage of criticism from the PC lynch mob over her depiction of race and slavery.Amélie Wen Zhao’s novel, Blood Heir , is a fantastical retelling of the Anastasia story involving “a princess hiding a dark secret and the conman she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder, it was scheduled to be published in June.

After criticism on grounds of political correctness, Zhao said in a statement that negative feedback from the young adult community had led to her asking her publisher, Delacorte Press, not to release the book at this time. She said:

It was never my intention to bring harm to any reader of this valued community, particularly those for whom I seek to write and empower … I don’t wish to clarify, defend or have anyone defend me. This is not that; this is an apology.

Zhao had previously said on her website that she had set out to create “a diverse cast, many of which are beloved and dear to a third-culture kid like myself

Before the PC mob picked up on the book, early reviews had been positive.

Offsite Comment: The return of book-burning

Spiked logo The Twittermob’s fury with un-woke novels has sinister echoes of the past.

See  article from spiked-online.com by Tim Dawson

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jack gantos suicide bomber A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library , a new comic book has been pulled from publication at the behest of the PC lynch mob.The graphic novel, written by the Newbery medal-winning author Jack Gantos and illustrated by Sandman artist Dave McKean, it is part of a series linked by ‘sitting’ and was due to be released in May 2019. The book is pretty much a morality tale. It follows a suicide bomber who changes his mind once he discovers the joys of reading.

A group called the Asian Author Alliance responded with a call for the book to be censored. In an open letter, 1000 signatories said  the book was steeped in Islamophobia and profound ignorance. The letter continued :

The simple fact is that today, the biggest terrorist threat in the US is white supremacy. In publishing A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library, [publisher] Abrams is wilfully fear-mongering and spreading harmful stereotypes in a failed attempt to show the power of story.

As criticism of the comic spread online, McKean, one of the UK’s most acclaimed comics illustrators, responded , saying that the book was firmly on the side of literacy, empathy and non-violence. He tweeted:

The premise of the book is that a boy uses his mind and faith to decide for himself that violence is not the right course

I had just this anxiety when the script came to me. I just hoped we’d moved beyond each of us only being able to talk to and from our own little cultural bubble.

Abrams announced the cancellation of the comic saying in a statement that it had decided to withdraw it, with the support of McKean and Gantos:

While the intention of the book was to help broaden a discussion about the power of literature to change lives for the better, we recognise the harm and offence felt by many at a time when stereotypes breed division, rather than discourse.

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bookmarks 0300x0070 logoFar-right protesters have ransacked a socialist bookshop in London. The owners of Bookmarks say masked attackers wrecked displays and tore up books.Posting on Facebook and Twitter, Bookmarks said staff were closing the shop on Bloomsbury Street in central London on Saturday evening when about a dozen people descended on it.

A far-right protest against censorship of the website Infowars took place in central London on Saturday at which protesters were seen with the same placards. Others wore Make Britain Great Again caps.

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Books sample trigger warning labelSensitive snowflake students will soon need trigger warnings for some of the world’s most famous literature, an award winning author has claimed.

Julian Barnes was stunned to learn young university pupils had been critical of the behaviour of book character’s like Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Students in the US called the protagonist, Emma Bovary, a bad mother based on her affairs, her lifestyle longing to escape dull, provincial life.

The 72-year-old told those gathered at the celebration of the Booker’s half-century on Sunday:

I don’t know where to begin to unpick that.

As for students asking to hear in advance the bad things that happen in Titus Andronicus.

We might as well have a trigger warning on all great works of literature.

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Here’s a thought for the ‘progressive’ politically correct left. Perhaps it was their tactic of yelling ‘racist’ at anyone who dares criticise immigration, that caused Brexit. The left’s censorship effectively pushed commonly held views on immigration under the carpet. Now if these views had been allowed to be aired, then perhaps David Cameron would have realised that the referendum was not such a good idea, and not called it in the first place.Perhaps censors everywhere should be reminded that censorship may block the airing of views but it doesn’t stop people from holding those views.

hope not hate logoThe New Statesmen is reporting about a campaign group called Hope Not Hate, that seems to hate free speech.

The group has spent a couple of weeks seeking out examples of texts denying the Holocaust sold on the Waterstones, Foyles, WHSmith and Amazon websites. The group has published its findings in a paper called Turning the Page on Hate , and is urging the retailers to remove these texts, which range from what are deemed dangerous to Holocaust denials to far right books.

Since the campaign began, Foyles appears to have removed numerous works from its website. However, its chief executive Paul Currie said:

This is a difficult scenario for all booksellers given the width and scale of publishing and the perennial issue of censoring from all aspects of life what people can read.

WHSmith also appears to have removed some books from its website since the campaign launched.

At the time of writing, Waterstones retains the works Hope Not Hate listed. Waterstones’ owner James Daunt told Hope Not Hate, What should we censor? he asked rhetorically, refusing to remove the titles:

It is not our position to censor this listing beyond the existing measures we take to exclude self-published books that may potentially be offensive.

Index on Censorship’s chief executive Jodie Ginsberg. Encouraging bookshops not to stock certain content because it’s considered hateful I think is problematic, she explains:

When you’re suggesting [the removal of books from] some of the largest bookshops in the country, which are the ones most people can access, then you are limiting people’s access to information… Anything that limits people’s ability to find out information is a threat to freedom of expression.

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niamh smythIrish book censors have not banned a single magazine and have blocked just one book in the last ten years. Now a member of the Irish Parliament has called for the Censorship of Publications Board to be shut down.

Fianna Fail Arts and Culture Spokesperson Niamh Smyth said: This is one quango that should be whacked. She was referring to a political campaign slogan whack a quango, to shut down quangos. Smyth added:

The ongoing existence of a Censorship Board that doesn’t censor anything is bringing the concept of censorship into disrepute at a time where we need it more than ever.

The only time the board has been heard of in ten years was the ludicrous submission of Alan Shatter’s novel Laura over something to do with abortion.