The London Book Fair is facing claims it has bowed to pressure from Chinese authorities by failing to invite
dissident and exiled writers to next month's event and choosing only state-approved authors.
Bei Ling, an exiled poet and essayist, has written to the British Council, the organisers of the cultural programme of the fair, which is one of the biggest international publishing events in the world, expressing his surprise over its plans to host
Chinese state-approved writers and organisations.
I was amazed that no independent voice, no exiled or dissident writer from China is being represented at the London Book Fair, he told the Guardian, accusing the fair, which is focusing on China this year, of self-censorship to keep Chinese
authorities on board.
It is shocking enough that the book fair has worked with Gapp (General Administration of Press and Publication, the agency responsible for regulating publications in China). In order to ensure that their guest country was happy they exercised
self-censorship and didn't push for other, non-state-approved writers, although without them you don't get a full picture of literary China, he said.
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