Chinese censorship forces rewrite

A MEMBER reports being made to do a rapid rewrite of parts of a reprint of their book - printed in China - that were felt to show the People's Republic in a "bad light.".

The edition was a reprinting of a book first published in 2008, in English. The Chinese printer came back with requests to remove text and a least one accompanying picture which they felt showed China in a bad light. Some of the material "genuinely did," said its author, "though it was well authenticated material. Some of it really didn't and they were just being anxious, I felt. I had to write replacement text at short notice, and there was no chance to argue."

The publisher had been told that if the text was not removed the printer would not handle the job. The explanation was that Chinese printers are under increasing pressure not to facilitate publishing of anything that is detrimental about China. The author was "told that the printers would be closed down and a member of staff likely jailed if they printed the book as it stands. I stress, this is not for sale within China, but for sale in an English-speaking territory. It was only going to be printed in China."

The Freelance has also heard from another source of similar incidents invovling non-fiction education books produced in China.