Shanghai Bookstore Tears Out 'Taiwan' from Dictionaries

Shanghai Bookstore Tears Out 'Taiwan' from Dictionaries
Photo Credit: Nathan Martin / AP Photo / 達志影像

What you need to know

Taiwan is disappearing from dictionaries in China and US academic publications are being removed from library shelves.

A state-run foreign language bookstore in Shanghai has been tearing out the pages with entries on Taiwan in the English dictionaries that it sells, according to photos shown on Twitter.

Taylor Wang, a software engineer, posted pictures of the Merriam-Webster dictionary with pages torn out on his Twitter page. “When I was buying the dictionary I noticed the plastic wrapping on all the copies had been torn out. I asked an assistant about it and they told me they opened the packaging to take care of ‘problems inside.’ After inspection it seems some words have angered the authorities.”

Other Twitter users said they had seen various versions of these "censored" dictionaries.

“All the original copies of the Merriam-Webster dictionary that I’ve bought are like this, but if you buy the photocopied version on Amazon then Taiwan is not erased,” another person said on Twitter.

Another user, @zuola posted photos showing a dictionary with tape over “Taiwan.”

Taylor Wang published photos of the censored dictionary in reply to another tweet about “renovations” at the Nanjing Library.

That tweet said the library had been under renovation for over three months, but no signs of renovations were seen when it reopened.

“However, ‘Essays on Important Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court,’ the Harvard and Yale Law Journals, and other such foreign-language books seem to have disappeared from the racks,” a Twitter user said.

Under its “Taiwan” entry, the Merriam-Webster currently lists the island-nation’s geographic location, as well as a definition which reads that Taiwan is, “since 1949, seat of (Nationalist) Republic of China.”

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White