Publishing representatives in Taiwan are encouraging bilateral exchanges between their island democracy and mainland China, as a means of increasing readership and producing quality Chinese-language publications. According to the Taipei Times, the head of Taiwan’s Planter Press Co., Lee Ho states that one measure would be reducing taxes on books exported across the strait in order to increase Taiwanese competitiveness.
Publishing relations have been congenial over the last twenty years, but Lee asserts that it is time for the Taiwanese government to “take further actions.” According to the Taipei Times, President Ma Ying-jeou agrees. But while these “actions” remain largely undefined, their projected effect on Taiwanese publications is even more ambiguous.
Such measures would, at most, fundamentally combine the industries of both countries, or at the very least, the regulatory practices – a risky move for democratic Taiwan. China, after all, continuously engages in censorship of its publications. Unlike democratic publishing institutions, which often encourage its readership to think outside the accepted norms of the culture, Chinese publishers see themselves as having a role in maintaining the cultural status quo. As of yet, the island’s journalists don’t seem to appreciate the gravity of such a transition in the Taiwanese publishing world.
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