|Students reading in North China University's |
library, 1946. Via Vintage Libraries.
Compared to the literary world in China, the book world in the West is a hedonistic and artistic paradise. It seems a little silly to keep pointing out the fact that books get removed from a school or library here and there when there are places in the world where books truly are banned. (Not that I'm going to stop participating in Banned Books Week. BBW will only stop being necessary when people stop trying to get between readers and books.) Soviet Russia had and the Middle East still has their samizdat. No only can you not openly purchase these books, but in some places simply having a copy is a crime.
I have no idea what I would do, were I an author that had just sold the publication rights to a Chinese publisher. Would I stand my ground? Or would I try to sneak some of my words through to readers? If I stuck to my ideals, readers in China would probably never hear about it, unless a pirated copy got through. If I bowed to the censors', how much of my message would really get through?