Changes in Chinese Censorship of Western Books about China

Peter Hessler, writing in The New Yorker magazine, notes a change in the publishing climate for books about China by Westerners, after traveling on a book tour with his Chinese censor!

“My Chinese censor is Zhang Jiren,” Hessler writes, “an editor at the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, and last September he accompanied me on a publicity tour. It was the first time I’d gone on a book tour with my censor.”

Evidently a new audience for Western books about China, at least non-fiction, is growing. Hessler reports that “…the publisher believed that there would be limited interest in a foreigner’s book about China. But Country Driving became a surprise best-seller, and a year later Shanghai Translation followed up with River Town, which quickly sold more copies than it had in more than a decade in America.”

Read more of Hessler’s observations in the New Yorker article.

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