China Education Minister Wants Foreign Books Banned, Beijing Universities Balk

Yuan Guiren, China’s Education Minister, recently urged several university officials in Beijing to ban the use of foreign textbooks that “spread Western values.” Universities throughout Beijing, however, continue to use foreign textbooks in some of their required courses.

Several issues are still unclear surrounding the book-banning policy. For instance, will this policy eventually extend beyond Beijing? If so, will university officials continue to ignore the government’s demands? Moreover, just how strictly will this policy be enforced? The coming months will surely reveal just how committed the Chinese government is to its policy of increased censorship since Xi Jinping took power in 2013.

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Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals who engage in self-censorship.