China bans Hasidic Jewish woman’s memoir over ‘anti-communist’ content

The book was apparently banned because of Chinese support of Russia in the conflict with Ukraine. 

By World Israel News Staff

Chinese censors have banned the printing of a memoir written by a Hasidic Jewish woman who immigrated to the United States from the Former Soviet Union over its “anti-communist” content, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported last week.

After initially being informed by the Hong Kong-based 1010 Printing that the “The Queen of Cleveland” had been approved by local government censors for publishing, book publisher Dovid Zaklikowski was then told it was being sent to China’s national censorship agency for further review, citing the war in Ukraine.

“In view of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the book has to upgrade for further approval, which needs to take 15 days,” the 1010 Printing representative told Zaklikowski by email.

China’s General Administration of Press and Publication banned the book from being published, and Zaklikowski received another email from the printing house: “Unfortunately this book is not approved to print in China as content involves anti-communist. Now the only option is printing outside of China.”

According to JTA, all content printed or published in any medium in China must secure the approval of the Chinese Community Party-controlled government, even in the case that the book is not intended for sale in China.

China’s support for Russia since its invasion of Ukraine only serves to exacerbate matters, the report said.

According to Zaklikowski, the move further underscored the message of “The Queen of Cleveland.”

“It seems that even after [author Shula Kazen’s] death in 2019, the communists are still fighting her message and the censor refuses to print her triumphant message,” Zaklikowski said.

“The Queen of Cleveland” explores Kazen’s childhood under Communist rule, detailing how her father was arrested – and later died while in prison – for helping with Jewish ritual circumcisions.

The report cited Rose Luqiu, a journalism professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, as saying that the conflict in Ukraine “makes those topics related to Russia more sensitive.”

“This has led local officials to avoid political mistakes by tightening scrutiny, preferring to relinquish their vetting authority and leave decisions to their superiors,” she told JTA.

Zaklikowski said he will send the book for publishing in Singapore.

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Referencing communists, he said, “They will never win.”