(TibetanReview.net, Feb25’19) – Publishers who get their books printed in China only for reason of cost are required to comply with the country’s strict censorship rules even if they are not meant for distribution in the country, according to a smh.com.au report Feb 23. 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, the report said.
And the list of restrictions required to be complied with is stated to be long.
Citing a list obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, the report said the Australian office of one Chinese printer had produced a list of “key words to be alerted” for their publishing clients. They were stated to include “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, Uyghur nationalism and Falun Gong are also stated to be listed as taboo subjects.
Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi Jinping, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee was reported to be ruled out, as was a long list of 118 dissidents who were not allowed to be mentioned.
“China has just got more and more aggressive; they cannot be satisfied by their censorship in China, they would like to expand it to western countries, especially Australia, since we have a large Chinese population,” Mr Wu Lebao, a dissident who has, since December, been an Australian citizen and science student at the ANU, was quoted as saying. He was suspected of leading China’s “Jasmine Revolution” protests in 2011 with artist Ai Weiwei, whose name also appears on the list.
Most major religions were also stated to be 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 was cited as saying these things could be published after vetting by censors, which could take up to 30 working days.
“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 report quoted one printer as saying.