Chief of Naval Operations
Hillary Clintons autobiography censored by Chinese
New York Senator Is 'Amazed and Outraged'
The Chinese call it a matter of mere ''technical changes.'' Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton calls it censorship. Her American publisher calls it breach of contract and wants it fixed -- now.
The former first lady said Wednesday she was ''amazed and outraged'' that politically sensitive material had been rewritten or removed from the Chinese-language version of her memoir, without her knowledge.
The 466-page Chinese edition of Living History -- a best seller -- does not contain Clinton's comments about the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests. A segment about Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu is reduced to almost nothing and refers to him as a spy awaiting sentencing.
At least eight other segments were changed or deleted.
''Unbelievable!'' the New York senator told the Associated Press outside a Senate hearing Wednesday in Washington.
Asked why she thought the censorship occurred, Clinton replied: ''Why does any government keep information? They want to control the opinions and minds of their citizens.''
She called such an attempt ''increasingly futile'' in the Internet era.
Such retooling is standard procedure in communist China, where the government keeps all media on a short leash and sweeps away anything that could threaten its absolute authority or conflict with its version of how the world works.
''We have made technical changes to the content in some parts of the book in order to win more Chinese readers,'' acknowledged Liu Feng, the deputy editor in chief of Yilin Publishing House, which published the Chinese version. ''But the changes do not hurt the integrity of the book,'' Liu insisted.
They're certainly not hurting its sales. Living History is on at least its fourth printing since it was released Aug. 3 in China. More than 200,000 copies have been printed, and bookstores in Beijing, the capital, report brisk sales.
''It is our fault that we did not contact Simon & Schuster and inform them about the changes in time,'' Liu said. ''The only thing in our mind at that time was to get the book published as soon as possible.''
Simon & Schuster, the book's U.S. publisher, said in a statement Wednesday that it has informed the Chinese publisher that its actions are a ''breach of contract.''
''Yilin Press represented their edition to be a complete and accurate translation of the English text. In fact, numerous changes and deletions were made to portions of the text dealing with Senator Clinton's views about China and her travels there,'' Simon & Schuster said.
It said it had demanded ''immediate recall of the inaccurate version and the republication of the book with a faithful and accurate translation.''
Simon & Schuster's Web site posted a page flagging the changes in red and providing English and Chinese versions of what was missing or altered.
''We were shocked to learn of this problem and wanted to provide a quick and accurate way for Chinese readers to read the missing passages while we sort out the legal issues with Yilin,'' said Carolyn Reidy, president of Simon & Schuster.
One section in the Chinese version says Wu was detained and awaiting sentencing for spying. The original version says Wu is a ''human rights activist who had spent 19 years as a political prisoner in Chinese labor camps,'' according to the Web site.
In a section eliminated from the Chinese translation, Clinton says she is ''haunted by the events at Tiananmen.'' Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed civilians were killed near the square when troops and tanks smashed their way into the center of Beijing to crush the protests on the night of June 3-4, 1989.
''Bill and I debated whether we should attend a ceremony in Tiananmen Square, where Chinese authorities had used tanks to forcibly suppress pro-democracy demonstrations in June of 1989,'' Clinton wrote.
What else can I say about dictatorship/communist countries (China, VN, Cuba, NKorea, and etc.)