Books translated for the fast-growing Chinese market may be censored without their authors’ knowledge, a writers’ advocacy group reports: The Guardian

A US-based advocacy group is warning Western authors to be vigilant about censorship of their work, which is sometimes done without their knowledge, in China’s fast-growing book publishing industry.

A report on Wednesday from the PEN American Center says translated versions of foreign books may be expurgated because of political sensitivities about such topics as Taiwan, Tibet and the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on democracy protesters. But sexually explicit material and references to gay and lesbian issues are also frowned upon.

Emily Parker talks with Yiyun Li about self-censorship in China, the line between fact and fiction, and whether it’s possible to create good art under a repressive regime: Guernica

yiyun-liEmily Parker: Is your new book based at all on the Zhu Ling poisoning case, or is it just a coincidence?

Yiyun Li: It’s not based on the Zhu Ling case, but I’m very familiar with it. I think this case has always been in the back of my mind, and it seems to me that it has a lot of significance to a whole generation of Chinese.

“I will publish The Descent of Air India despite the censorship,” Jitendra Bhargava told Tehelka.  “It will be out next week in an e-book form.”

If you had evidence of all these claims, why did the publisher back out?
The book went through several rounds of editing and fact-checking, but the publisher, Bloomsbury — new to India — decided to settle out of court with the former civil aviation minister. I didn’t mention some cases because I didn’t have papers for them. For example, when Air India gave away its land to GVK Infrastructure. I didn’t have the papers for those. After the book was published, the former civil aviation minister sued the publisher and me. No minister will agree with a book that goes against him because of their need for public posturing. The day before the first day of hearing of the case, the publisher told me that they had settled out of court and presented the court their settlement deed where they agreed to withdraw the book. When the court asked me, I said I wanted to go ahead with the book and I had retained the copyright.