Whether Lin Biao (Lin Piao) wrote an autobiography, possibly called The Biography of Lin Biao; if so whether it is legal to sell this autobiography in China; if illegal, the penalty for selling it; the penalty for selling banned books and any publications considered anti-revolutionary [CHN42869.E]

Information on an autobiography written by Lin Biao or on a book entitled The Biography of Lin Biao was not found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Information on a biography called Lin Piao: The Life and Writings of China's New Ruler, written by Martin Ebon in 1970 and containing all of Lin Piao's major writings from 1946 to 1969, was found (Asia Bookroom 3 Aug. 2004; World Cat 3 Aug. 2004; Carleton University Library 3 Aug. 2004). However, information as to whether this book has been banned was not found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Country Reports 2003 indicated that the Chinese government maintains strict control over the dissemination of information by imposing restrictions on publishing houses, media outlets and Internet cafes (25 Feb. 2004, Intro., Sec. 2). Country Reports 2003 published a partial list of books that were banned in 2003, including some that had previously been legitimately circulated (25 Feb. 2004, Sec. 2).

The State Press and Publication Administration (SPPA) is one of several organizations within the Chinese government apparatus that is responsible for controlling publication and dissemination of information (China Online 28 Nov. 2000). The SPAA bans books that reveal "state secrets," which can be any information that the Chinese government does not want disseminated (ibid.) The SPAA also demands that publishing companies obtain permission to sell publications online (ibid.).

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) reported that China's State Secrecy Bureau designates almost all information relating to activities performed by various departments of the government of China as potentially state secrets, providing a broad scope of grounds upon which to charge people with violating secrecy laws (US 3 June 2004). Amnesty International has expressed its concern that the Chinese government has not defined such terms as "'subversion' and 'endangering state security'," thus allowing authorities great latitude in interpreting which acts are in violation of the law (Amnesty International 28 Jan. 2004).

Many of the reports on censorship in China focus on the government's attempts to control what is accessible on the Internet, including books made available in whole or in part on Websites (Country Reports 25 Feb. 2004, Sec. 2; Amnesty International 28 Jan. 2004; ibid. 2004; HRW n.d.). Human rights organizations report that people convicted of Internet-related offences are often prosecuted under regulations that are "broadly-worded" (HRW n.d.) and "vaguely defined" (AI 2004). According to these groups, people have been convicted of crimes such as "incitement to subvert state power" (Amnesty International 28 Jan. 2004), terrorism (ibid. 2004), "'subverting state political power'" (HRW n.d.), "inciting to overthrow state political power" (ibid.) and "illegally holding confidential documents" (PEN 28 July 2004), in connection with their publication or dissemination of information over the Internet or though printed materials.

According to various organizations, the penalties for censorship-related crimes range from brief detentions of several months to long-term detention, life imprisonment or death (Amnesty International 28 Jan. 2004; ibid. 2004; HRW n.d.). A representative from PEN Canada, the "political organization of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists" (Amazon.com 4 Aug. 2004), characterized the charges as "draconian" and the sentences as "lengthy" and "harsh" (28 July 2004).

Evidence suggests that people are more likely to be convicted for writing, printing or distributing information than for possessing it (Index on Censorship 27 July 2004; PEN 28 July 2004). Specific penalties for selling a banned book were not found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Amnesty International considers people detained for expressing free speech to be prisoners of conscience, and has expressed concerns that many are denied due process, kept incommunicado for months before their trials and may be tortured or ill-treated in custody (28 Jan. 2004).

For further information on the possible repercussions for people caught in possession of a banned book, please see Response to Information Request CHN42263 of 18 December 2003.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amazon.com. 4 August 2004. "Books: Modern British Drama: The Twentieth Century." http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0521016754/ref=sib_aps_ref/102-3134940-3897757 [Accessed 4 Aug. 2004]

Amnesty International. 28 January 2004. (ASA 17/001/2004). "People's Republic of China: Controls Tighten as Internet Activism Grows." http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA170012004?open&of=ENG-2AS [Accessed 3 Aug. 2004]

_____. 2004. "China." Amnesty International Report 2004. http://web.amnesty.org/report2004/chn-summary-eng [Accessed 3 Aug. 2004]

Asia Bookroom. 3 Aug. 2004. "China - Political Biographies and Writing." http://www.asiabookroom.com/currentlists_xAsia/chipolbiowrit.htm [Accessed 3 Aug. 2004]

Carleton University Library. 3 Aug. 2004. Online Catalogue. http://catalogue.library.carleton.ca/search/ [Accessed 3 Aug. 2004]

China Online. 28 November 2000. "State Press and Publication Administration (SPPA)." http://www.chinaonline.com/refer/ministry_profiles/SPPA.asp [Accessed 23 July 2004]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. "China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)." Department of State. Washington, DC. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27768pf.htm [Accessed 23 July 2004]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). n.d. "Freedom of Expression and the Internet in China: A Human Rights Watch Backgrounder." http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/china-bck-0701.htm [Accessed 23 July 2004]

Index on Censorship. 27 July 2004. Correspondance from the China issues researcher.

PEN Canada. 28 July 2004. Correspondance from representative.

United States (US). 3 June 2004. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). "Agencies Responsible for Censorship in China." http://www.cecc.gov/pages/virtualAcad/exp/expcensors.php [Accessed 30 July 2004]

World Cat. 3 Aug. 2004. "Detailed Record: Lin Piao; the Life and Writings of China's New Ruler." http://www.worldcatlibraries.org/wcpa/ow/3c7b3cc848effa58.html [Accessed 3 Aug. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: American Library Association, Channel Newsasia, Human Rights Watch, Index for Free Expression, International Freedom to Publish Committee (IFTPC), Reporters Without Borders, Samizdata.net.