A fake Sumeru Books in China?

Blogs Books Buddhism around the World China Politics Publishing Publishing in a digital world Sumeru Books Tibet

I recently received an e-mail from a Chinese domain name registration company informing me that someone in China wishes to register the domain name: “sumeru-books.cn” and asking if they are either a distributor or a partner of sumeru-books.com. I explained that they are not, and that we would consider their registration of the name to be an attempt to subvert our business.

During the next short period, I was offered a window of opportunity to register the domain myself, at a fee of approximately $50 a year.

Normally, that would not be a problem. However, I took some time to read the Chinese government’s policy on inappropriate .cn domain names. This is the result (in rather poor English from Google Translate):

What kind of Chinese Domain Names are not allowed to be registered?
1. Contents that are opposed to the basic principles formulated in the Constitution;
2. Contents that disclose the State secrets, aim to jeopardize the security of the State and overthrow the State power, and attempt to destroy the unification of the country;
3. Contents that are designed to harm the glory and interests of the State;
4. Contents that instigate national animosity, national discrimination, and destroy national unity;
5. Contents that do damage to religious policies of the State and propaganda heresy and feudal superstition;
6. Contents that disseminate rumors, disturb social order, and destroy social stability;
7. Contents that disseminate obscenity, eroticism, gambling, violence, murder, terror or induce crimes;
8. Contents that insult or calumniate other people, and infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of other people;
9. Contents that are forbidden by laws, rules and regulations.

Insofar as we publish books and information that the Chinese government would perceive to be promoting a free Tibet, we could be construed to contravene every single term except number 7, and even that one is open for debate if they chose to say we induce crimes. (Does burning oneself to death in protest count?)

Under the circumstances, I’m going to decline the offer and assume that the Chinese version of Sumeru Books, if it gets registered by someone in China, is going to be as fake as their Panchen Lama.

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