Amid reports of a Communist party crackdown on children’s literature, Winnie-the-Pooh, Peppa Pig, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and even James and his Giant Peach are feeling the heat in China.
With about 220 million under-14s and a rapidly growing middle class, China is home to a potentially massive market for children’s picture books. More than 40,000 children’s books were reportedly published here last year alone.
But with an aggressive Communist party campaign against supposedly hostile western ideas currently underway, foreign storybooks appear to have found themselves in a big soup.
According to a Chinese newspaper, Chinese publishers have received orders that the number of foreign picture books being printed in China must be brought down.
Storybooks from South Korea and Japan now stood almost no chance of being published in China, it is learnt while the supply of books from other countries would be very limited.
Some other say that Communist party officials had complained that foreign storybooks had caused an intolerable inflow of ideology from the West.
Last Friday, e-commerce giant Alibaba announced it would ban the sale of all foreign publications on Taobao, one of China’s most popular online shopping sites in order to create a safe and secure online shopping environment to enhance consumer confidence and satisfaction.
China has struggled for years to stave off the influx of foreign cultural influences and those efforts have intensified since Xi Jinping became the country’s top leader in 2012 vowing to promote what he has called the China Dream.
Xi has declared that Chinese universities must become Communist party strongholds while education minister Yuan Guiren has warned that enemy forces have been attempting to infiltrate hearts and minds on the country’s campuses.