Printing in the People's Republic

Many, if not most, Australian publishers and plenty of individual authors have books printed in China. The printing prices on offer are very attractive, and the quality often excellent. However there is a dark side to printing in the People's Republic: censorship. You might think that a book being printed for an Australian (or any other non-Chinese audience) would be simply printed and shipped back to the client. This is only partially correct: it is checked by Chinese censors to make sure the book in question conforms to certain Chinese sensitivities — even if not a single Chinese citizen is destined to read it. Such sensitivities include drugs, sexuality and references to China and Chinese history. If your book mentions Taiwan, for example, you had better make sure it reads as "Taiwan (China)". If your book discusses Chairman Mao in anything but the most glowing terms, better find another country to print it. The Chinese government interest in content is a salutary reminder that the country is burdened with a dictatorship, with all the stifling, anti-democratic and bureaucratic impulses that go with that kind of government.