Hamleys Toy Parade 2016 (Photo : Getty Images)
While China has opened doors for Chinese authors in the Middle East under its Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing is closing the door on some foreign authors. But the target ban by the Chinese Communist Party are only foreign picture books that feature “subversive ideology.”
Ironically, among the books removed from bookstores are popular children’s books such as “Winnie the Pooh,” “Peppa Pig” and “James and the Giant Peach,” Newsweek reported. The aim of the ban is to limit foreign influence on Chinese society.
Taobao Tows CCP Line
China’s version of Amazon, Taobao, a giant online shopping service owned by Alibaba, said on Friday that it would comply with the CCP’s order and ban foreign children’s books not licensed by the Chinese government. The order was only done verbally with the aim of making Chinese citizens conform to the dogma of the CCP.
Alibaba’s notice read: “In order to regulate the Taobao online shopping platform and to create a safe and secure online shopping environment to enhance consumer confidence and satisfaction, Taobao will embargo all daigou vendors of foreign publications and related information.”
CCP officials have reportedly blamed the foreign storybooks for causing an intolerable “inflow of ideology” from western nations. The “Peppa Pig” book set, a British publication, is among top three bestselling picture books on JD.com, an online shopping website which are all foreign-authored.
From Thousands to Hundreds
Since China opened its doors to the west, a lot of Chinese children grew up reading foreign books such as “Fantastic Mr. Fox” by Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. With the CCP order, the number of children’s book titles that would be translated yearly is expected to be reduced to only a few hundreds from the current thousands, Financial Times reported.
Because of the ambiguous wording of Alibaba’s statement, it has been interpreted as covering foreign video games, CDs and DVDs. This led one Taobao vendor to advice customers: “All we can say is, everyone treasure what you have! From now on, we can be confident in saying that it will be more difficult, more expensive and more rare to buy foreign goods.”