French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest book Capital and Ideology is unlikely to be published in China after he refused to bow down to the censorship demand by his Chinese publisher, The Guardian reported.
Piketty’s 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century, which offered a dense critique of modern capitalism and inequality, was a best seller in China.
The book even earned copious praise from President Xi Jinping, who in a 2015 speech approvingly quoted its findings on inequality in the United States and Europe to buttress his claim that Marxist economic doctrine was as relevant as ever.
The book catapulted Piketty, an acknowledged expert on income inequality, especially inequality as measured by taxation data, to near rock-star status with some even praising him as the 21st Century Karl Marx.
Chinese publisher Citic Press reportedly sent Piketty’s French publisher a list of 10 pages of requested cuts in June from the French edition of the book, and a further list in August related to the English edition.
Citic Press Group demanded that all parts of the book related to inequality in China be cut.
In this latest book, Piketty has covered Chinese government’s tolerance for rising inequality, the opacity of official data on income and wealth distribution, and the paradox between a socialist political system and a highly unequal society.
“I refused these conditions and told them that I would only accept a translation with no cut of any sort. They basically wanted to cut almost all parts referring to contemporary China, and in particular to inequality and opacity in China,” The Guardian quoted Piketty as saying.
Book censorship is often a precondition for release in China, where the ruling Communist Party exercises strict control over what can be published, broadcast or shared online.
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