SCARED OF BEIJING: Former Peking University law
professor Yuan Hongbing said some stores were afraid to sell his book about the
death of the 10th Panchen Lama
By Lee Yu-hsin and Stacy Hsu / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Chinese author Yuan Hongbing
poses at the launch of his latest book, Fleeing China, in Taipei yesterday.
Exiled Chinese writer Yuan Hongbing (袁紅冰)
yesterday said that some people in Taiwan’s publishing industry are exercising
“self-censorship” by being reluctant to put his latest work, Fleeing China
(逃離中國), on the shelves after another of his books was shunned by some local
The situation proves that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) China-leaning stance
has encouraged bookstore proprietors to join him in his attempt to pander to
China, Yuan said in Taipei at a presentation for his latest book.
“If these bookstore owners are willing to exercise ‘self-censorship’ before the
cross-strait service trade agreement is even ratified by the legislature, I will
not be surprised if they ban all my books from their shelves once the treaty
takes effect,” Yuan said.
Bookshops in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport
(Songshan) and the Eslite bookstore on the ground floor of the National Theater
had returned all copies of his Death of a Buddha — The Truth behind the Death
of the 10th Panchen Lama (殺佛 – 十世班禪大師蒙難真相), to its publisher, citing the
book’s “highly sensitive content,” he said.
The Eslite bookstore chain “did not dare” sell the book because of its plans to
expand in Shanghai, China, Yuan said.
“Taiwanese businessmen have been enjoying all the freedoms the nation has to
offer, yet they have never fulfilled their obligations and responsibilities to
this society. That is just pathetic,” Yuan said.
In Death of a Buddha, Yuan alleges that the death of the 10th Panchen
Lam, Choekyi Gyaltsen, in 1989 was a politically motivated murder ordered by the
Chinese authorities, rather than a heart attack as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
Yuan said he is “very proud” that all of his books were banned by the Chinese
government because it shows that “what he said is true and is something the CCP
does not want to hear.”
Yuan published the two-volume Fleeing China earlier this month. It
details his own experience with the CCP’s political persecution of dissidents
and the sufferings of dissidents.
Citing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as an example, Yuan, who was a law
professor at Peking University at the time, said the disturbing sounds and
images of protestors being run over by tanks of the People’s Liberation Army
“Such a despotic regime deserves the contempt of the entire world,” Yuan said.
As a nation that takes pride in its freedoms and democratic achievements, Taiwan
should not impose “self-censorship” or let itself become a “special
administrative region” under China’s tyrannical rule, he said.
“Doing so would be a serious setback and backsliding of Taiwanese democracy and
that just is not worth it,” Yuan said.