Fascinating piece in The Sydney Morning Herald by Nick Galvin on 2 April 2014. It has to be read to be believed. Follow this link to the site here. In it the MD of Reader’s Digest Australia, Walter Beyleveldt, ‘flatly denies there has been any censorship,’ when their printers in China insisted that the words Falun Gong and references to torture of a Falun Gong practitioner in my thriller, Thirst, due be in a Reader’s Digest volume, must be deleted. When I said I would not allow China to censor my work, Thirst was removed from the Reader’s Digest volume.
Beyleveldt’s comments in The Sydney Morning Herald article has caused outrage around the world from authors, journalists, bloggers and from the book-loving public because he is denying Reader’s Digest has caved into Chinese censorship.
Here are just some of the hundreds of tweets about this article and the attempted censorship of my work:
From Actual Litte in France: #Censure d’un #imprimeur chinois : le Reader Digest courbe l’échine actualitte.com/t/kMYIVnI #Chine #censorship CC @lalarkinauthor
Australian Society of Authors: ASA concerned by censorship of Australian author @lalarkinauthor: asauthors.org/news/australia…
Chair of NSW Writer’s Centre and editor, Linda Funnell: Shame on you @readersdigest not backing your author @lalarkinauthor in face of Chinese censorship:smh.com.au/entertainment/…
Mark Colvin, ABC Radio, PM Show: Dear @ReadersDigestAU, remember the 1st law of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging. smh.com.au/entertainment/… cc @lalarkinauthor
Dianne Blacklock, author: @lalarkinauthor Oh boy, that’s nasty!
Blogger, Literary Minded: Australian thriller writer @lalarkinauthor has refused to bow to censorship demands from Chinese printers ow.ly/vjWXd
Official Jargon: @ReadersDigestAU @lalarkinauthor “censorship” sounds so blunt. “The book was lightly harmonised…” is better.
Paula Weston: It seems censorship is alive and well. Just ask @lalarkinauthor about her recent Readers’ Digest experience theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
Dean Crawford, author: @lalarkinauthor You’re welcome – it does indeed present ominous questions about future author censorship.
Michael Robotham, referring to earlier article in The Guardian, UK on this same issue: Profit and politics trump free speech.
The last laugh goes to The Australian’s Strewth column, 3 April 2014:
“A BIG bravo to Reader’s Digest Australia managing director Walter Beyleveldt for staying true to the reality-fighting spirit of Monty Python’s Black Knight (“’Tis but a scratch!”). L.A. Larkin’s thriller Thirst was to be included in a Reader’s Digest anthology, but ran into trouble when the Chinese printers insisted on the removal of the words “Falun Gong” and “torture”. But in Fairfax Media’s story, it was this contribution from Beyleveldt that stood out: “I absolutely would not call it censorship. We wanted to take out some stuff from her book and she wouldn’t let us, so we were left with no choice other than to pull her book.” 500 stars.”
Thanks to everyone for your support and for making me smile!