Thomas Piketty refuses to censor latest book for sale in China


The latest book by the French economist Thomas Piketty appears unlikely to be sold in mainland China after he refused requests to censor it.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has expressed admiration for Piketty’s work, but Capital and Ideology, which was published last year, has not made it to the mainland China market due to sections on inequality in the country.

Piketty told the Guardian the Chinese publisher Citic Press had sent his French publisher a list of 10 pages of requested cuts in June from the French edition of the book, and a further list in August related to the English edition.

“I refused these conditions and told them that I would only accept a translation with no cut of any sort. They basically wanted to cut almost all parts referring to contemporary China, and in particular to inequality and opacity in China,” he said.

The passages highlighted by the Chinese publishers include one referring to the post-communism societies of regions including China becoming “hypercapitalism’s staunchest allies”, as a direct consequence of “the disasters of Stalinism and Maoism”.

Other sections reference the opacity of Chinese income and wealth data, capital flight and corruption. Piketty writes that China’s wealth distribution to the top 10% and bottom 50% is “only slightly less inegalitarian than the United States and significantly more so than Europe”.

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