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Like millions of young readers around the world, Chinese children have grown up with popular titles such as Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and the Harry Potter series.

与世界各地的无数年轻读者一样,中国孩子是在阅读罗尔德•达尔(Roald Dahl)的《了不起的狐狸爸爸》(Fantastic Mr Fox)、《哈利•波特》(Harry Potter)等流行文学作品中长大的。

But Beijing is now introducing new measures to restrict access to foreign books and publications as it opens a new front in its battle to limit outside influence on Chinese society.


Regulators have given verbal instructions to publishers to limit the number of children’s books written by foreign authors made available in China, according to three people with knowledge of the order. The decision would reduce the thousands of children’s titles published in Chinese translation every year to just a few hundred, one of them said.


Taobao, one of China’s biggest ecommerce sites and owned by Jack Ma’s Alibaba, said on Friday it would prohibit the sale of all foreign publications on its platform.


“In order to regulate the Taobao online shopping platform and to create a safe and secure online shopping environment to enhance consumer confidence and satisfaction, Taobao will add all foreign publications and buyer information to its embargo rules,” Alibaba said in a statement.


Industry experts expressed surprise at the ruling and questioned how it would affect a fast-growing market. “I can’t imagine this restriction to be possible, because its implementation is so difficult, and it also has no benefit whatsoever for the people or the country,” said a senior Chinese books editor, who asked not to be identified.


Jo Lusby, managing director for Penguin Random House North Asia, said: “The children’s market is substantial and growing in China, in particular in the pre-school and picture book area.”

企鹅兰登书屋(Penguin Random House)北亚地区总经理欧海伦(Jo Lusby)表示:“中国儿童图书市场庞大而且不断增长,尤其是在学前和绘本领域。”

On Amazon’s Chinese site, six out of the top 10 bestselling children’s books were by foreign authors, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final part of JK Rowling’s series about the adventures of a boy-wizard, and Sam McBratney’s picture book Guess How Much I Love You, which has sold 28m copies worldwide since being published 20 years ago.

在亚马逊(Amazon)中国网站,十大畅销儿童读物中有六部是外国作家写的,包括《哈利•波特与死亡圣徒》(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)——这是J•K•罗琳(JK Rowling)所著的关于一位少年魔法师历险故事的系列作品的第七部、也是最后一部——以及山姆•麦克布雷尼(Sam McBratney)的图画书《猜猜我有多爱你》(Guess How Much I Love You),该书出版20年来在世界各地销售了2800万本。

It is not known which part of the Chinese government is leading the drive to limit the supply of children’s books. It was also unclear whether the ruling was having an effect, as internet searches on Friday revealed hundreds of Chinese vendors selling foreign children’s books.


Ambiguity in the wording of Alibaba’s notice would also allow it to ban the sale of foreign video games, CDs and DVDs. One Taobao vendor wrote to customers: “All we can say is, everyone treasure what you have! From now on, we can be confident in saying that it will be more difficult, more expensive and more rare to buy foreign goods.”


The contents of Chinese bookshelves and magazine stands are strictly regulated. Only eight state-owned importers and their subsidiaries are licensed to bring foreign titles into the mainland.


Consumers eager for banned books have long sought them out in Taiwan and Hong Kong, which enjoy unfettered access to volumes inaccessible to mainland readers.


However, online vendors have offered a loophole, with cleverly worded searches turning up thousands of illicit titles sold by so-called daigou, enterprising intermediaries who buy goods from abroad and sell them on to mainland customers.


Online book sales in China have more than quadrupled during the past five years, even as overall book sales have dipped. Sales of children’s literature in particular have soared as living standards have risen.


The move to cut the list of available books comes as China moves to oversee more strictly the content, both printed and digital, that its citizens can access. Social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, and many foreign news websites, are inaccessible in China.


Rules passed a year ago have in effect shutout foreign companies and subsidiaries from publishing online content without approval from Chinese regulators, while a much-anticipated cyber security law requiring foreign entities to store personal and business data within China is set to take effect in June.


The country’s minister of education has previously said that western ideas had no place in Chinese textbooks. Last year a group of professors urged the government to cut back on western economics in university courses in favour of Marxist teaching.


Domestically written Chinese children’s literature has struggled to compete with more popular foreign titles. Classic works by authors such as Lao She, one of China’s most famous twentieth century writers, and illustrated books of Tang dynasty poems are still read by children but sales of more contemporary translated works now far outstrip them.


A new crop of Chinese children’s writers have sought to adapt the animal-based plots of their western counterparts by infusing them with elements of Chinese folklore. Shen Shixi’s popular Jackal and Wolf was translated into English in 2012 while Yang Hongying’s Mo’s Mischief series, first published in 2003, has sold 30m copies worldwide.

中国新一代儿童作家试图借鉴西方同行动物题材的故事情节,并加入中国民间传说的元素。沈石溪颇受欢迎的《红豺》(Jackal and Wolf)于2012年被翻译成英文,杨红樱的《淘气包马小跳》(Mo’s Mischief)系列作品于2003年首次出版,已在全球销售3000万册。

内容来自 听力课堂网:http://www.tingclass.net/show-500-388606-1.html

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