Chinese censorship has come a long way. During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor of a unified China, Ying Zheng, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’. He not only got rid of troublesome texts, he deleted their authors and potential readers as well. This infamy would be decried throughout Chinese history until, in May 1958 at the Second Plenary Session of the Eighth Communist Party Congress Central Committee, Mao Zedong, founder of today’s People’s Republic of China, declared: “What’s so impressive about the First Emperor? He only buried 460 scholars alive, while we’ve buried 46,000.”


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