“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Can translating and publishing banned works cause trouble for authors?

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Speaking very generally, the government is less concerned about the political dangers of literature than other art forms. A Chinese film director might be banned from filmmaking for showing a film abroad without government permission — this wouldn't happen with writers, who are not required to obtain government permission to publish their works abroad. It's possible that a contract with a foreign publishing house could draw official attention to a writer who had thus far escaped notice, but this seems unlikely, and we have never heard of it happening (in fact, in some cases, international attention has dissuaded the government from reprisal). In general, authors can be relied upon to know their own situation, and make informed decisions about their safety.


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