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China to Inspect Elementary and Middle School Libraries Nationwide for “Illegal” and “Inappropriate” Books

On October 21, 2019, the website of China’s Ministry of Education published a “Notice on Launching a Special Campaign to Examine and Cleanse Books in Nationwide Elementary and Middle School Libraries.” The notice states that, in order to conduct an “in-depth study of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” and to create a healthy and safe environment for educating people, the Ministry requires that schools do self-checks and cleanups according to the published guidelines. The local education authorities must also run spot-checks to make sure that the schools have implemented the Notice. Books and periodicals that endanger national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and that violate the “Party’s principles and policies” and contradict the core values of socialism will be cleaned up.

According to the “Elementary and Middle School Library Book Review and Clearing Standards” attached to this notice, the books to be cleansed are classified into “illegal books,” “inappropriate books,” and “books with a poor appearance so they are not worthy of preservation.” Electronic books are not spared.

“Illegal books” include: books that violate the existing laws and regulations such as the Constitution, including those that endanger national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; books that violate the CCP’s principles and policies, and that defile and demonize the Party, state leaders, and heroic figures; books that joke about the history of the Party, the country, and the military; books that violate religious policy; foreign books obtained through informal channels; and books that the authorities have ordered to stop circulating.

“Inappropriate books” include: books that do not conform to the “social core values”; books in which the  world view, philosophy and values are biased; books that promote narrow nationalism and racism; and books that are of poor taste and unhealthy.

Source: Central News Agency, October 30, 2019