The Chinese state is to “drastically" cut the number of foreign picture books for children which can be published in mainland China this year, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
The newspaper said that while the measure has not been publicly announced, four different publishing sources had confirmed to it that a cap was being introduced by China’s state publishing system, with publishers urged to focus on domestically generated books. The newspaper added that the measure was part of a broad campaign to reduce the influence of foreign ideas and enhance ideological control.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television did not respond to requests for comment on the issue from the South China Morning Post.
If true, the new restriction will come as a blow to UK publishers, who in recent years have reported a frenzy of interest from Chinese publishers keen to buy children's book translation rights at the Shanghai International Book Fair (CCBF) and the Beijing International Book Fair. The children's book market has been booming in China, with book sales data company Open Book citing a 15% year-on-year value rise for the country’s children’s book market when interviewed by The Bookseller at CCBF last November.
In a seemingly related measure, Alibaba's Taobao.com e-commerce platform issued a notice last week banning the promotion and sale of books published outside mainland China, according to the South China Morning Post.