By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 3: In yet another incident of Chinese censorship, the publisher of world’s largest academic books, Springer Nature has admitted that they have censored topics in China that are deemed sensitive to the communist government.
A Spokesperson from Springer Nature told CNN-Money that the company censored content in China to conform to the laws there. While the company admits that their move was "deeply regrettable", they could not risk being totally banned from China.
Cambridge University Press earlier in August gave out similar statements when they blocked over 300 articles from the ‘China Quarterly’ website in China. The CUP however restored the filtered contents following outcry from academic community.
The website, Journal of Chinese Political Sciences
owned by Springer Nature has blocked contents that have search words such as Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen, Xi Jinping and corruption charged Chinese politician Bo Xilai who many said was a rival to Xi’s rule in China, among others.
Professor Steve Tsang, Director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London on the issue wrote, "This is hugely damaging to its reputation and standing as an academic publisher. This is the thin end of the wedge that can cut academic freedom, and should not be accepted by the academic community."
China’s state media Global Times
in an editorial in August, 2017 wrote, “Western institutions have the freedom to choose. If they don't like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us. If they think China's Internet market is so important that they can't miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way.”
China is ranked among the highest when it comes to online censorship. “The Great Firewall of China”, not only blocks website content but also monitors the Internet access of individuals often resulting in crackdowns and prosecution of nitezens and users advocating anything that is deemed anti-China.