How to Censor The Economist in Shanghai?-Tea Leaf Nation

July 21, 2012

Just Tear the Pages Out


Tea Leaf Nation: July 9, 2012


 [The Economist]

Censorship can be complex and nuanced, or it can be simple and clean; those in charge of Shanghai’s Hongqiao Airport’s bookshop clearly subscribe to the purist school.

On July 8, @Harvey-Hui-Wu reported on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter,

“Nowadays speech is so harmonious! I bought an issue of the Economist at [Shanghai’s] Hongqiao Airport and wanted to read the articles on China, but found that all articles in that section were torn out! I was so angry and ran back to the bookstore to complain. The clerk said this is how the airport treats the magazine when new stock comes in, and showed me the rest of the Economists at the bookstore. Surely enough, all of them had no China section. I was speechless!” [1]

For those wondering which articles were affected, @Harvey-Hui-Wu responded in his next tweet, “China’s security state and Hong Kong’s democrats! My guess is that customs people specialize in tearing out the China section.” [2] @Better-Ian thinks it is a special case, “I think it might be the airport’s doing. The issues I see in our provincial library and local library all have the China section.” [3]

Most commenters on Sina Weibo ridiculed the censorship; others shared their experiences. @智圣Wisaint tweets, “I subscribe to the Asia edition of Time. Articles on China are torn out and issues with covers about China are just not distributed. Sometimes you can see topics on China in the Briefing section. The censors don’t read the magazines that closely.” [4] @无翼的雀仔X agrees, “That’s very normal. When you watch news broadcast from Hong Kong in Guangdong, you often get three or four blackouts during one segment.” [5]

@谷大白话 added, “All words and phrases related to Tibet are blacked out with markers in the Merriam Webster dictionaries sold online.” [6] @刘庆东 offers some advice to the censors, “These people still don’t do their jobs right. Should black out all the article titles from the table of content, so the readers won’t even know what you had torn out.” [7]

Perhaps editors of the Economist can take (cold) comfort in the fact that Michelangelo’s timeless work suffers a similar fate. @Gucci小古 reports that CCTV news censored a certain body part of the statue David-Apollo in its news broadcast.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: