Non-authorized religious and “superstitious” books now receive the same treatment of pornography.
by Kong Peizhi
“Pornography and obscenity” and “xie jiao [a term indicating ‘heterodox teachings’ listed as such and prohibited, sometimes less accurately translated as ‘cults’], illegal religion, and superstition” are now the two main illegal contents of books the Market Supervision Bureaus are supposed to confiscate in China.
This month, Market Supervision Bureau officers and police descended on bookstores in Shangcheng County, which is under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Xinyang, in Henan Province, and started examining shelves and books, telling store owners that they were looking for both pornography and unauthorized religious or “superstitious” publications.
Bookstores near schools and colleges were particularly targeted.
It seems that the agents did not find much, and to make their visits fruitful had to look for “terror and horror” books that are also regarded as “immoral.”
Local believers resented a policy that puts non-authorized religious books and pornography in the same category. However, these policies are now common in China, and printing and distributing unauthorized Bibles and other religious texts is a “crime” often punished with the same penalties as producing and selling pornography.