The China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corporation–the official distributors of foreign publications in China–last week informed Dow Jones, publishers of the Review and this newspaper, that inclusion of the book review would keep the June issue of the monthly magazine off newsstands. An article on trafficking in endangered species was also deemed offensive.
“It may seem strange that Beijing is so sensitive to criticism of Mao after all this time,” says Hugo Restall, editor of the Review. “But then consider that, despite tremendous economic progress, China’s political system is still pretty close to where it was half a century ago–and look at the disasters like the Cultural Revolution that followed.
“Naturally, the country’s leaders want to conceal from their own people and the rest of the world just how vulnerable China is to political instability,” Mr. Restall went on. “The tools in their arsenal range from the subtle, such as recruiting businessmen to speak on their behalf, to the crude, like banning magazines.”
Here’s a portion of the review itself:
Two years ago at a Harvard conference devoted to Mao Zedong, retired Beijing University Professor Yue Daiyun recalled her suffering during the Maoist era.