Chinese Censorship Danyelle Gary

This is perhaps, the most interesting article I’ve read all semester. A Washington Post article details the Chinese government’s attempt to censor content at a state-run bookstore in Shanghai by tearing out the pages of Merriam-Webster’s English dictionaries that list the definition of Taiwan. The act was discovered after a Twitter user posted his experience. Other Twitter users said the same thing, or some variation of the censorship, happened to them a few years ago. Bookstore officials said the definition of Taiwan violated the One China Principle. Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949. The Webster definition supposedly described Taiwan as an island. Obviously, censorship is being enacted, in this case, by the approved removal of the content by the state (Denyer & Lin, 2016).

"The absurd face of China’s censorship: Bookstore tears out Taiwan page from Webster’s"

This article, and others like it from American news outlets, contribute to electronic colonialism theory. ECT focuses on the impact of media messages to influence culture, attitudes, and beliefs, among other areas (McPhail, 2014).Articles such as the one described, paint China as a highly censored area where individual expression is not valued. The inclusion of a term in the dictionary is a minor ordeal, in my opinion, but is presented as a major issue because of the involvement of government officials


Denyer, S., & Lin, L. (2016, October 13). The absurd face of China’s censorship: Bookstore tears out Taiwan page from Webster’s. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from

McPhail, T. L (2014). Global communication: Theories, stakeholders, and trends. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell

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