China has imposed an “effective ban” on former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s memoir, Hard Choices, as distributors and publishers have declined to purchase translation rights to the book despite efforts by her publisher to sell it here. We blame the Global Times.
According to executives at Simon & Schuster, Clinton’s publisher, an English version of the memoir won’t make it to Chinese bookshelves either. The day after the book’s release in the US, the publisher was told by Shanghai Book Traders that the title wouldn’t be approved for sale and not long after, Hard Choices was removed from Amazon China’s site.
“It’s outrageous and unfortunate,” Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster said in an interview with BuzzFeed. “And it’s a pretty clear indication of the low level of intellectual freedom in China right now.”
The near 700-page book is an account of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and is a wee bit critical of the Chinese government. She calls the country out as being “full of contradictions” and describes it as the “epicenter of the antidemocratic movement in Asia”.
Clinton devoted a full chapter to her negations on behalf of Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident lawyer and activist who sought asylum in the US.
She also fittingly made mention of her 1995 address to the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing where she said she “felt the heavy hand of Chinese censorship when the government blocked the broadcast of my speech.”
Karp, who described China’s response to the book’s release as an “effective ban”, said that execs at Chinese publishing houses didn’t even bother negotiating on the deal. “There’s no formal written explanation for why, except for the obvious reason that, in the past, we’ve been told that the import agencies don’t want to risk the wrath of the Chinese government,” Karp said. “They could be shut down.”