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Talk of the Day -- China tightens censorship of books from Taiwan
Central News Agency
2014-01-23 10:29 PM
Authorities in China have ordered stricter controls of books and magazines from Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to a local newspaper report. The new policy aims to get rid of content deemed vulgar or "politically detrimental," the report said. The following are excerpts from a special report in the Thursday edition of the United Daily News on China's new censorship policy: Editors-in-chief at major Chinese publishing companies last December received a directive from China's media regulator -- the State General Administration of Press Publications, Radio, Film and Television (SGAPPRFT) -- which said that book publishing will be subject to more stringent controls. Taking effect immediately, it required books from Taiwan and Hong Kong to be censored more strictly. A Chinese publisher confirmed earlier this week that he received the SGAPPRFT order last December, which bans publication of books on feng shui and fortunetelling and tightens controls on books originating in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He said his company has complied and stopped publishing books on practices like feng shui, a traditional Chinese belief that prosperity and peace can be brought by rearranging living spaces. The publisher speculated that the Chinese media regulator has barred publication of those books over concerns that they could fuel public discontent amid prominent reports of rampant official corruption in China's ruling hierarchy. Simmering tensions and uncertainties in China's relations with Japan and the United States were another possible reason behind the ban on feng shui and fortunetelling reads, he said.

The Communist Party, which officially advocates atheism, has derided fortunetelling for decades as a superstition, even though the practice has its roots in ancient Chinese history. Despite the apparent crackdown, the media regulator has not come up with a list of off-limits books or authors from Taiwan or Hong Kong, a Beijing source familiar with the matter said, noting however that censorship has also been tightened on books by mainland Chinese writers. "We don't know how long this strict policy will remain in place. We can only expect to wait a long time before getting the green light for publishing any specific book on our list," the source said. A Taiwanese publisher noted that some Hong Kong publishers and book distributors have begun self-censorship. "Some Hong Kong bookstore owners have politely declined to put Taiwanese books on sensitive Chinese politics on their bookshelves, and others only agree to display such books in less noticeable areas," he said. (Jan. 23, 2014). (By Sofia Wu)

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