Hillary Clinton’s memoir, “Hard Choices,” has effectively been banned in China less than a month after its release, according to publisher Simon and Schuster.
The book has several scenes where Clinton harshly criticizes the Chinese government during her time as Secretary of State for being “full of contradictions” and “anti-democratic.”
She writes: “It’s not a secret that the centre of the ant-democratic movement in Asia is China.”
She even dedicates a whole chapter to the negotiations to grant asylum to the blind Chinese activist Chen Guancheng, who wanted to leave China with Clinton in 2012.
Another section details a discussion Clinton had with Dai Bingguo, China’s state counselor, about the US “pivot strategy” in Asia. Dai was quoted as telling Clinton “Why don’t you ‘pivot’ out of here?” Clinton also said she “felt the heavy hand of Chinese censorship” when the Chinese government blocked the broadcast of her 1995 speech to the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing.
Simon and Schuster’s president Jonathan Karp told BuzzFeed “It’s outrageous and unfortunate. And it’s a pretty clear indication of the low level of intellectual freedom in China right now.” Chinese publishers not only declined to purchase the translation rights to the book, but they also declined to have it sold in the English version.
Clinton is somewhat of a celebrity in China, where she is referred to as “Hillary” by the mainstream media. Several articles in the press about the former Secretary center around her personality more so than her politics. A recent headline in the state newswire, Xinhua, read “Should she be called President Hillary, or President Clinton?”
Bill Clinton had similar problems getting his memoir, “My Life,” published by the Chinese in 2004. Bootleg copies were widely circulated around Chinese bookstores, which contained fabricated passages. In one edition, Clinton tells Hillary to call him by his nickname, “Big Watermelon.” In other versions, passages had been re-written to show Clinton boasting about how Chinese innovations had “left [the US] in the dust.”
Evan Osnos, a writer for the New Yorker, told BuzzFeed “If you want to publish a book in Chinese that touches on politics, it’s almost guaranteed that there will be things they’re going to want to change.”