International

In China, publishers admit self-censorship

Just days after the world’s oldest publisher briefly caved in to Chinese censorship demands, international publishing houses are courting importers at a Beijing book fair, with some admitting they keep sensitive topics off their pages.

The censorship controversy that hit Cambridge University Press (CUP) sent a chill along the stands staffed by publishers from nearly 90 countries at the Beijing International Book Fair, which opened on Wednesday.

But some acknowledged their companies have already resorted to self-censorship to ensure that their books do not offend and are published in China.

CUP had given similar arguments when it initially complied with a Chinese import agency’s demand to block articles from its China Quarterly journal, before reversing course on Monday after coming under fire from the academic community.

Terry Phillips, business development director of British-based Innova Press, was candid about it as he prepared to meet a Chinese counterpart at the fair’s section for overseas publishers.

“We frequently exercise self-censorship to adapt to different markets. Every country has different sets of requirements about what they consider appropriate for education materials,” Mr. Phillips told AFP. “But as authors, I think we also have a responsibility to find ways to teach good citizenship and human rights,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:45:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/in-china-publishers-admit-self-censorship/article19554440.ece

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