Global Times: Sanitized English Lit

Global Times, perhaps surprisingly, frankly describes censorship and import restrictions on foreign books and periodicals in China, and readers’ various routes around the rules.

When Li Xiang got home with a pile of books he had bought from a bookstore at a Shanghai business school, he started to happily flip through one of them until he noticed something odd; pages 16 and 17 were stuck together ….

Using a razor and the skill of a surgeon, Li managed to pry apart the glued-together pages to find that the offending passage described China’s legal system. On page 18, he also found lines of text that were redacted with sloppy strokes in black ink. Carefully scrutinizing the passage, Li could see the section was an explanation of China’s one-party rule ….

Li remembers how he had to play a little game with CNPIEC’s Shanghai office when he tried to subscribe to a foreign newspaper. Chinese mainland citizens can not directly subscribe to daily foreign language newspapers.

According to the import-export monopoly’s Shanghai branch’s website, subscription services for foreign newspapers and periodicals are restricted to people and companies from overseas, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. A photocopy of a business license or passport is required proof.

“It was very interesting to see the way they dealt with it,” said Li. “I just asked my German friend for help. I used his ID to order the International Herald Tribune but had it delivered to my address,” he said.

August 2, 2011 7:53 PM
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