Novelist Yu Hua: “Censorship with Chinese Characteristics” Far Less Monolithic than Portrayed in the WestBanned in China Add comments
In Censorship’s Many Faces, Yu Hua, author of the very popular novel To Live (活着，余华著), makes the simple but educational point that censorship in the PRC is neither systematic nor free of economic considerations.
For instance, unlike book publishers, film censors can afford to say “No” to any politically sensitive script—because their salary and job security do not depend on creating revenues.
Yu Hua closes his New York Times Op-ed with this humorous anecdote:
“I recently made a joking comparison between media censorship and the pervasive threat of contaminated food, a constant source of worry:
‘There’s no end to these food scares,’ a friend sighed. ‘Is there any hope of a solution?’
‘Oh, all we need is for food inspections to be as forceful as film censorship,’ I told him breezily. ‘With all that faultfinding and nit-picking, food-safety issues will be resolved in no time.’
More than 12,000 readers reposted this. One wrote: ‘I know what we should do. Let’s have those in charge of film, newspaper and book censorship take over food safety, and have those responsible for food safety censor films, papers and books. That way we’ll have food safety — and freedom of expression as well!’”