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Taiwanese bookstore chain bans Tibet books to open China branches

Taiwan-based bookstore chain Eslite
Taiwan-based bookstore chain Eslite

(TibetanReview.net, Jul06, 2014) –In preparation for plans to open branches in Suzhou and Shanghai in 2015, Taiwan-based bookstore chain Eslite has removed from its shelves several books about life and activism in Tibet, reported wantchinatimes.com Jul 4. The report cited Hong Kong’s Apple Daily as reporting Jun 19 that the books were removed from a book exhibition at Eslite outlet in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay in March.

Eslite has maintained, however, that it was a standard part of their management practice to restrict their employees from speaking to the press and claimed that many other enterprises had similar regulations.

The report cited Chinese author Yuan Hongbin, who had published books about Han Chinese persecution of Tibetans, as complaining that Eslite had banned his books in Nov 2013, giving him the excuse that the move was simply part of the bookstore’s procedure to return unwanted books.

The report also cited Hsu Shih-rong, a professor at National Cheng Chi University in Taipei, as saying Eslite had let the public down and questioned whether a company could legitimately order its employees to keep quiet just because it paid them a salary.

The issue appears to have become serious enough for Taiwan’s culture minister, Lung Ying-tai, to remark that while respecting the company’s business strategy she hoped Eslite will find a balance in whatever it was doing.

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