Springer Nature, the world’s largest academic book publisher, has blocked access in China to at least 1,000 articles, making it the latest international company to succumb to intensifying Chinese censorship demands. Research by the Financial Times shows the publisher has removed more than 1,000 articles from the websites of the Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, two Springer journals, in the Chinese market. All of the articles in question contained keywords deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese authorities, including “Taiwan,” “Tibet” and “Cultural Revolution.” Western companies are increasingly being targeted by Chinese officials keen to enforce and expand President Xi Jinping’s relentless crackdown on dissent and criticism. The decision by Springer – which owns Nature magazine and Palgrave Macmillan books, and produces periodicals such as Scientific American – prompted anger from academics. It comes two months after Cambridge University Press acceded to similar pressures from Beijing, before reversing course after an intense backlash against its surrender of academic freedom.
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