The Saddest News of the Day

Was one that I read this morning, about China banning the sale of children’s books from different countries.

Although it is true that children’s books could potentially influence children’s perceptions, there are thousands of children’s books now that try to break those stereotypes, just a few days ago I read about a revolutionary children’s book of true stories about 100 great women. Rebel Girls aims to educate children and show them that not every girl has to dream of being a princess, which is what most books aimed at young girls promote. But I doubt a total block on all children’s books from outside Chinese borders would stop children being influenced.

As a nation of people who stream and download thousands of MB of films and TV shows each year, it is easy for Chinese people to download children’s TV series such as Peppa Pig, Teletubbies and all the other shows that are shown to children across the world. What’s the difference between TV and books?

I was reminded this morning of Malala, another book lover, here is one of her quotes

Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.

I was also reminded of the book burnings that I know to have taken place in China from the time of the first emperor Qing Shi Huang, and later again during the Cultural Revolution. Is this another modern day method of burning books? A way to control the people’s thoughts and opinions, to forcibly guide them into only reading certain types of literature, because other types are deemed ‘unsafe’, ‘defamatory’ or ‘blasphemous’? Whatever reason China has for banning foreign children’s books being sold in the country, I’m against it.

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4 thoughts on “The Saddest News of the Day

  1. I also read this news. The official reason is that foreign books teach children western thought and not communist values, or some shit like that. Hellooooo, are we back in the 1950s? I’m curious how it will be implemented though. Next time I visit a bookstore I’ll check if they still have Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, etc (which until now were easy findings). Educated people will still buy them abroad, either from English websites or from Taiwan/HK, but it will be harder for people who just buy what they can find in bookstores.

    1. And as usual in China, when there’s a rule there’s a trick xD There’s probably hundreds of apps offering pirated books, Chinese and foreign, and they will continue doing so.

      1. Yes, I was told that you can get any book in Kindle format from Chinese websites, it will just make people buy from other sources. Also, when the books are translated, I doubt people know where the book actually comes from in the first place. ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ has been translated so many times, would a Spanish or French or Italian person know that the author was American? It’s just telling the story of a hungry caterpillar that turns into a butterfly. There are butterflies and caterpillars and ice cream and pizza etc in these countries too, it could have been written anywhere.

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