Book critical of Ming emperor recalled. Xi Jinping didn't like it because… | World News - Hindustan Times
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Book critical of Ming emperor recalled. Xi Jinping didn't like it because…

Oct 23, 2023 04:14 PM IST

Screenshots of comments circulating online that likened the emperor to Xi Jinping were also scrubbed from the internet.

A reprint of a book attributing the end of the Ming dynasty 400 years ago to the incompetence of a Chinese emperor was pulled off the shelves last week as it drew now censored online comparisons with China's president Xi Jinping. The book "Chongzhen: The Diligent Emperor of a Fallen Dynasty" was recalled on October 16, according to an online notice by its publisher Dook Media Group due to "printing problems".

Chinese president Xi Jinping(Reuters)
Chinese president Xi Jinping(Reuters)

Screenshots of comments circulating online that likened the emperor to Xi Jinping were also scrubbed from the internet, news agency Reuters reported. Chongzhen's reign ended with his suicide in 1644 and was noted by historians for his diligence as much as his paranoia, including the constant questioning of his subjects' loyalty.

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Chinese readers shared images of the book cover on their Weibo social media accounts, including words critical of the emperor such as "Bad moves one after another, the more diligent (Chongzhen was), the more the kingdom died". The images also included the cover of the book, which showed Chongzhen's name with a red noose. Two other blurbs on the cover read: "paranoid and mercurial" and "understanding how Emperor Chongzhen drove himself to a dead end".

The book is currently unavailable online while searches for the title on Weibo yielded no results, as per Reuters. The name of the author Chen Wutong, who died earlier this year, was also censored on Weibo, it was reported.

The book was published on September 1 and was a reprint of a 2016 text that had a different cover and title.

Censorship in China

China has earlier censored content for any material that may not be compliant with its policies or critical of its policies or leaders. In the recently released book on Elon Musk written by Walter Isaacson, phrases such as "this is fascism" were obscured in white as they were seen critical of China's recent zero Covid policies. In the past, pictures of Winnie the Pooh, a meme that played on Xi Jinping, were also been scrubbed from the Chinese internet.

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