The CCP blocks the publication, sale, and dissemination of all Buddhist books and other publications not approved by the state.
by Lu An
Government-organized operations to purge Buddhist books not approved by the state have intensified significantly across China. Not only temples and Buddhist centers are attacked. The CCP also attempts to cut all supply and circulation channels of such publications, therefore, attacking printing houses, copy centers, and mailing services.
As informed sources in Chifeng city in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region told Bitter Winter, thousands of Buddhist books were recently confiscated from at least 20 stores selling Buddhist merchandise.
“Since last year, we have been banned from selling Buddhist books and CDs,” owner of one such shop explained. “Over 2,000 Buddhist books and materials were confiscated from my store, and officials continue to conduct frequent inspections to check what we sell.”
Other shop owners expressed concerns that the government often conducts secret inspections. “If someone is discovered selling banned Buddhist books, they could be given a hefty fine of 50,000 RMB [about $ 7,100],” proprietor of a Buddhist merchandise store in Chifeng’s Baoshan district said.
“In the past, people would send me books and materials they printed themselves to distribute them for free, but nobody dares to do this now,” another shop owner added. “Officials told me to call the Religious Affairs Bureau if anyone gives me such publications, which will be confiscated immediately. It’s becoming more difficult to find a Buddhist book.”
Mail orders of Buddhist books are also investigated. In January, the police in the northeastern province of Liaoning questioned a man for ordering a Buddhist book by mail. The interrogating officers told the person that the book’s publisher “was problematic.”
In March, the police warned all printing houses in Shengzhou, a county-level city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, that they were forbidden from accepting and fulfilling orders from religious venues not approved by the state. They were told to report all such clients. Similar restrictions have been adopted in other provinces as well.
In June, the government of a town in Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner in Inner Mongolia’s Hulunbuir city, visited local copy centers to inform them that copying Christian and Buddhist materials was banned. “Government officials come every other day to inspect computers and copy machines,” a local copying shop owner said. “If they discover that religious materials had been copied, I could be held legally accountable. These inspections are very rigorous.”
Proprietors of several copy centers in Liaoning’s Shenyang city told Bitter Winter that they now refuse to make copies of Buddhist materials because of the government’s strict control. Printing houses in the city also reported that they don’t dare to undertake tasks of printing materials with Buddhist scriptures.
“No businesses print religious materials now, fearing hefty fines if officials from the Bureau of Industry and Commerce discover that such orders had been fulfilled,” a copy center owner said.