What is a Bigger Crime, Censorship or Self-censorship?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

In China writers are forced to work in a grey area where the rules change without notice.

By Edward Nawotka
One biggest problems for Chinese writers is self-censorship, says Murong Xuecun: “It’s something that haunts me when I write…sometimes when I read over a text I realize that I’ve already modified it.”

China maintains very strict censorship controls on it’s media and publishers. But the scene is evolving — albeit slowly — and publishers and writers are forced to operate in a gray area, where things that are tolerated one day are deemed illegal the next. This leaves many authors in an untenable position.

Self-censorship is a shame, but when individual agency can lead to, well, end of the individual…you want to live to fight another day, don’t you? When it’s the state that puts someone into that position, it’s indefensible.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.