Demanding Censorship

The Huffington Post reported this month (December 2010) that a collection of Grimm Brothers’ classic fairy tales was pulled from bookstores in China.

Since we hear so often about censorship in China, doesn’t that sound as if this children’s book was censored.

However, China’s government was not involved.

In China, even in the state-run media, reporters that write the stories or editors do most of the censorship.  Being Chinese, these people know what is culturally acceptable by the people and politically sensitive to the Party.

In fact, people that work for China’s state run media are often proud of their self-censorship.

Agence France-Presse (AFP), which is one of the three largest and the oldest (founded in 1835 and reborn in 1944) news agency, broke this story about the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales.

There are more facts to this than I shared with you in the lead paragraph, which is what the Western media often does when writing about China.

To be fair, both the AFP and Huffington Post did say in their leads the reason for the censorship of this book.

“An X-rated collection of Grimm Brothers’ classic fairy tales – including one in which the heroine engages in sexual relations with both her father and seven dwarves -– has been pulled from children’s bookstores in China.”

“Readers called us to say they did not think the book was healthy for children,” said Li Yong, the deputy chairman of the publisher, as quoted by the Telegraph saying. “After that, we pulled all the copies off shelves across the country….”

It turns out that the book was a Japanese pornographic reinterpretation of the fairy tales.

Learn more about the China Daily, which is part of the state-run media giant in the PRC.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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