British Publishers Censor Words from Books to appease Beijing: FT News

British Publishers Censor Words from Books to appease Beijing: FT News

  • Two British publishers made it illegal to publish words in books in order for them to be cheaply printed in China. FT reported.
  • Quarto and Octopus published references to Taiwan, according to the FT.
  • It is not the first time that the publishing industry has self-censored in an effort to placate Beijing.

According to the Financial TimesTo print books cheaply in China, two British publishers had words censored in books for Western audiences. 

Two unnamed sources cited by the FT said references to topics deemed sensitive by China, such as Taiwan Hong Kong, were repeatedly edited out in books published by Quarto — publisher of “This Book Is Antiracist” and “The Complete Language of Flowers” — as well as Octopus Books, which is part of literary giant Hachette.

These books, which were sold in West Europe, were censored by Chinese suppliers who claimed they couldn’t publish the original texts due to Chinese restrictions. Legal restrictionsAccording to the FT, there are restrictions on what can be published by China. According to the South China Morning Post, there are restrictions on publication. This includes compliance with a January 2018 rule that requires all maps be approved by the state prior to being published. 

Concern was raised by the report that publishers may be more dependent upon Chinese censorship, as they continue to seek out printing solutions cost-effectively in China.

Octopus, FT reported, cut out references to Taiwan in at least two books since 2020 — with an entire section on the island censored in one of them. Quarto also cut all mentions Hong Kong in the same period. dissident Chinese artist Ai WeiweiAccording to the outlet, it could be two different publications. All in one publication “Taiwanese”This was changed to “East Asian.” 

Sources said that the names of the titles were not given because this could expose their anonymity. 

Quarto spokesmen told FT the company didn’t make any changes upon request from suppliers. Quarto spokesperson said that the company had made “a few changes” to comply with suppliers’ requests.


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obligation to act in the best interest of our shareholders” and would work with Chinese suppliers who “Always deliver” good value for money, the spokesperson said. 

An Octopus Books spokesperson told FT that books with sensitive details relevant to the text are not printed in China. Any changes made “The spokesperson stated that the statements are not intended to be used and that we always seek the permission from the author to confirm their consent to proceed.” 

Insider requested comment from Quarto and Octopus Books, but they didn’t immediately respond. 

It is not the first time that the publishing industry has self-censored in an effort to placate Beijing.

Springer Nature, an academic publisher in China, denied access to more that a thousand Chinese articles in 2017 due to Chinese government demands. per AP. The articles covered topics such as Taiwan Tiananmen Square

In China, the Cambridge University Press also censored many politically sensitive articles that year. before reversing its decision

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