Beijing's Bold New Censorship
Earlier this year, I saw a standard contract that a major Beijing publisher uses with its authors and that no doubt reflects practice all across China. Provision Two of the contract lists the items to be censored: any language that violates the honor or interests of the state, harms national unity, leaks state secrets, insults the nation’s outstanding cultural traditions, and so on; a catch-all category at the end says, “or that violates other regulations.” Provision Five spells out who will decide which words in a text are to be censored:
Publisher has the right, in accordance with the publishing laws and regulations of the State, to make deletions, revisions, and additions to the Work. If changes are major, Publisher should consult with Author to obtain agreement. If Author refuses to revise or, after repeated revisions, has failed to satisfy Provision Two of this agreement, Publisher has the right to cancel the contract.