Historical Censorship In China Is Tool Of CCP

The continuing governmental practice of not allowing China’a past to be understood and factored into the present makes for a good read in Foreign Affairs.  (One free read per month.) 

Tiffert spells out what it means when Chinese historians run afoul of party censors. They confront, he writes, “a sliding scale of penalties, including harassment by the authorities, closure of publications and online accounts, humiliating investigations into personal affairs, business activities and tax status, and ultimately unemployment, eviction, and criminal prosecution.” Last year, Chinese civil law was even amended to punish “those who infringe upon the name, likeness, reputation, or honor of a hero, martyr, and so forth, harming the societal public interest,” writes Tiffert, which explains why “previously outspoken intellectuals and activists are going silent.” 

Tiffert also reports that “the Chinese government is leveraging technology to quietly export its domestic censorship regime abroad . . . , by manipulating how observers everywhere comprehend its past, present, and future.” Indeed, last summer, Beijing hectored Cambridge University Press into sanitizing the digital archive of The China Quarterly, an important English-language academic journal, by removing over 300 articles the CCP found objectionable from its Chinese search function. (The publisher reversed its decision days after a number of news outlets reported on its initial capitulation.) Then, last November, Springer Nature, the publisher of such titles as Nature and Scientific American, eliminated from its Chinese websites a large number of articles that included politically sensitive references—more than 1,000 articles in all, according to the Financial Times.

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