The Taipei Public Library system purchased a Chinese-made book that glorifies that country’s COVID-19 response measures, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) told reporters yesterday.
The publisher, Changjiang Children’s Publishing Group, is a partner of the Chinese Communist Party’s Publicity Department — commonly known as the Chinese Propaganda Department, Chen said, adding that she would ask the library to remove the book from its catalogue.
Taipei Public Library Deputy Director Wang Shu-man (王淑滿) said that an order for nine copies had been placed, but they had not yet arrived, so she would temporarily cancel the order, and have a digital version of the book removed from the library’s online system.
Photo courtesy of Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun
Wang said she would call a meeting of the library’s collections committee to inspect the book before deciding whether it should be added to the library’s collection.
Works from the book’s Chinese publisher — as well as its Taiwanese distributor, Chinese Creation Publishing Co — would be more closely scrutinized, she said.
She has not ruled out removing both firms from the library’s list of suppliers, she said.
Chen said the book had been brought to her attention by several residents who were angry that Chinese propaganda had ended up in the Taipei public library system, even more so because it was aimed at children.
An investigation showed that the book was part of a campaign Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) launched last year to publish books that promote Chinese political thought, as well as Xi’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Chen said.
Wang said that although the book had been reviewed by the library, its review system for children’s books focused only on works containing depictions of sex or violence.
“Although Taiwan safeguards free speech, we should not allow children’s books to become a tool of Chinese propaganda. This touches upon national security, political warfare and national consciousness,” Chen said.
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