May 20, 2022

Report: China’s Library Officials are Burning Books that Diverge From Communist Party Ideology

UPDATED December 11, 2019 China to Punish Library Officials For Burning Books – But Only Because They Did it in Public (via The Independent)

From The Washington Post:

Library officials in northwestern China recently hoped to demonstrate their ideological fervor and loyalty to the Communist Party by purging politically incorrect books and religious materials in emphatic fashion: They burned them.

Then they uploaded a report — and a photo — to showcase their work.

The book-burning incident, with all its dark historical precedents from this country and Nazi-era Germany, has heightened alarm at a time when Chinese intellectuals see their society tipping further into authoritarianism.

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From Quartz:

In total, the library destroyed 65 books under the supervision of officials from the Zhenyuan culture affairs bureau, according to the post. Zhenyuan’s propaganda department told a local Chinese publication (link in Chinese) that it was looking into the incident.


In a rare display of criticism, state-owned newspaper Beijing News published an editorial (link in Chinese) yesterday (Dec. 8) that criticized Zhenyuan library’s behavior as having “exceeded the acceptance level of society,” and questioned the need for books related to religion to be removed and destroyed, adding that the behavior has violated China’s own rules on religions and publications. The article was later deleted.

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See Also: Book Burning by Chinese County Library Sparks Fury (via The Guardian)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.