Hong Kong and larger China are still recoiling from the massive blow dealt to the publishing industry following the kidnapping of five major publishers last year. This summer, the Hong Kong book fair sent a strong message to the government by selling politically radical and sensitive material. It was a decisive stand for free speech, but the publishing industry is far from recovered.
Mei Fong has found herself up against a wall of a resistance in attempting to have her Pulitzer Prize winning book, One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, distributed throughout China and Taiwan. After many rejections from Chinese and Taiwanese publishers, Fong deigned to posting it online for free.
One publisher commented, “We were interested in the book, but could not even cover costs. Recently custom officials at the border between Hong Kong and China have started confiscating books in great numbers, which means people who used to come here to buy books do not do so anymore.”
Fong also noted that both prospective translators for the book asked to remain anonymous, citing the reputational hazards they might incur by having their name on literature deemed radical by the government.
Featured image courtesy of New Yorker.