chapter  9
15 Pages

Banned in China: the vagaries of censorship

In China, no less than elsewhere, state censorship is an ancient proclivity, one made particularly infamous in 213 bce when Li Si, Chancellor of the Qin Empire, ordered all Confucian texts burned and their proponents slaughtered. Nor have some of China’s most famous literary works escaped official proscription, Dream of the Red Chamber (Hong Lou Men) among them. Flash-forward to 1925 and what Lu Xun allegorically castigated as the persistent reinforcement of the Great Wall in an authoritarian conspiracy to imprison the Chinese people (“to confine us all”) is but one reminder that modern China has been no exception (Lu Xun 1925; Schwarcz 1984).