Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

British Publishers Self Censor to Maintain Ties with China

Posted by M. C. on March 17, 2022

ancel Culture
British Publishers Self Censor to Maintain Ties with China Photo by Ajay SureshPhoto by Ajay Suresh — Creative CommonsThe Financial Times reported that two British publishing houses are removing content the CCP finds objectionable to allow their books, intended for western distribution, to be printed in China. Octopus Books and Quarto have stripped references to Taiwan and Hong Kong and altered character nationalities, changing Taiwanese to “East Asian.” Mentions of dissident artist Ai Weiwei were also deleted. Changes came after Chinese suppliers said they could not, by law, print the original versions.

Other publishing houses, such as US printing company RR Donnelley & Sons, have faced similar pressures. The company authored a memo highlighting restrictions from its Chinese printers on mentions of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Covid-19 origins.

While some alternate printing locations are employed, price pressures prevent publishing houses from relocating their entire catalog. A spokesperson for Quarto stated the company had “a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of our shareholders.” Octopus Books said changes made “are not material and we always ask the permission of the author first to check they are comfortable to proceed.”
Free Speech
Yale Bipartisan Free Speech Event Disrupted by ProtestersSterling Law Building, YaleSterling Law Building, YaleA panel hosted by the Yale Federalist Society was met with 120 protesters against one of the participants, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The discussion, also featuring the American Humanist Association, was intended to demonstrate that liberals and conservatives could find common ground on free speech issues.

The protesters carried anti-ADF signs and vocally disrupted the event. Kate Stith, a professor at the law school, reminded the crowd that Yale’s policies do not permit protesting that “interferes with speakers’ ability to be heard and of community members to listen.” The students were asked to leave but continued to chant “protect trans kids” and “shame, shame” outside the room. After the event, nearly 2/3rds of the law school students signed a letter supporting the protesters.

Central to the students’ objections was a 2015 brief by the ADF, asserting that EU member states should have the option of requiring medical transition before allowing a legal change of gender. The stance led to the ADF being labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The nonprofit ADF has argued several Supreme Court cases, including Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, establishing religious exemptions from civil rights laws.

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