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Any restrictions on bringing books into China?

Any restrictions on bringing books into China?

Sep 8th, 2007, 11:56 AM
  #1  
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Any restrictions on bringing books into China?

I have family living in China for a year teaching. I have close friends going to China next month as tourists who offered to bring a care package. Would tourist friends have any problems if they were to take some books to send in the local mail there in Beijing? Mostly requests are for innocuous things like children's books, Shakespeare etc. but what about something like biography of Mao? Forgive me if this is a naive question. I have NO knowledge of China.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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All I can tell you from my recent trip is that no one at customs looked at my books, or at anything else.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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Chances are nobody will look at anything. But why take that risk at all, even if it's extremely minute? That's how I look at things. How much money do you save by having them bring in and send it by local mail, compared to sending it by USPS from the US? $20?

Is it worth the trouble?
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 02:11 PM
  #4  
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I assumed it would take much much longer, cost much more than $20 and perhaps be more of a red flag if sent. Would you say without the bio of Mao it's less of an issue?
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 02:29 PM
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Yes, just stick with Shakespeare and children books.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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English teachers working in China are advised to stay clear of "three T's and an F": Tibet (independence for), Tiananmen Square (as it relates to the suppression there of the pro-democracy movement), Taiwan and Falun Gong (a dissident religious sect). That should be a reasonable guide, and in addition I wouldn't include the bio of Mao. Having said that, I agree that it's unlikely that Customs will pay any attention to what you're carrying unless it breaches airline security or obvious laws such as illegal drugs.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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My grandson taught at a university in China for a year..and was told the same thing as Neil mentions above. For our own visit this past spring, wife brought several books to read on the four internal flights we had booked....no one batted an eye.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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Mclaurie:

P.S.

Of course, consorting with Fodorite EKSCRUNCHY in Shanghai raised a few eyebrows of the local gendarmerie. Wife couldn't understand the sudden attention we were getting because of it, and I know we were being followed all over town.

Needless to say, to be on the safe side, we abandoned EK as soon as we could! Whew!

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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Oh tower, do tell, what happened in Shanghai before you ditched EK, was she carrying books of 3T + F?
Shanghainese is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Shanghainese:

Not quite that innocent...don't ask!

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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The authorities in China are more concerned with distribution rather than a few copies of the Dalai Lama's autobiography. When I lived there, I brought in books of all kinds back from HK and the USA all the time and there was never an issue. Regardless, the worst that could happen is that they take the book(s).

BTW shipping from abroad to China is much much more than $20 - especially if it's something heavy like books. In the past anything that was shipped from NY to Shanghai cost $50+ for just 1-2kg.
baaj is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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Now, Now, Tower I specifically told you not to give any of this away..you will blow my cover!!

ekscrunchy
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Sep 10th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Biography of Mao?.....If you are talking about 'Mao, The Untold Story', then I would advise against.Your other items should be OK.
crunchy may have the advantage of a pretty smile, but, my literature was closely examined on more than one occassion at Chinese custom points.
By the way, if you haven't read the above book, then it's a must before your trip.
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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We are going to visit son in Chongqing soon and want to bring him some English books. Husband is reading Mao: The Untold Story and decided more prudent to finish reading here in USA and not bring to son although it is very interesting. Son told us they are not to discuss the 3 T's -- but didn't hear about the F, which makes sense.
shpap is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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We hand-carried "Mao The Unknown Story" into China. We lent it to an American colleague who flew around China reading it openly. He was in the Beijing airport awaiting a flight to Shanghai when a Chinese girl said she had heard about the book and asked to look at it. As she was leaving she said that it was not to believe it because it had a lot of inaccuracies. Of course he just smiled and nodded.

So what would happen if someone saw that book in a westerner's luggage? I wouldn't - and didn't - think twice about it.
nagiffag is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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The point is this. What is the risk rate? What is the benefit? What is the consequence?

I agree the risk factor is extremely low. Let's say 1 in a million. Or say 1 in 10 million.

The benefit for the OP is to have a book to read.

The consequence is have the friends harassed.

The OP can decide on her own whether it's worth it. I will not subject my friends to that even if the risk is 1 in 100 million. I can wait to read, or I can risk my own harassment to bring it in. But for to a friend.

But that's just me.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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I mean, I won't do that to a friend.

Just like I don't buy counterfeit goods, and I definitely don't ask friends or relatives to bring them across borders for me. Their risk to take, my benefit. Hm...
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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I'm with the others: why risk getting into their bad graces with just one book?

The meeting between nagiffag's friend and that girl was NO coincidence. If you think that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn...

How about substituting Mao with Harry Potter?
easytraveler is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Good point rkkwan.

Having the hutzpah to do something yourself and asking a friend to do it for you are two different things.
baaj is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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This is not communist Russia that we are speaking about here...

The girl at the airport commenting on the book could have been just that. Comments about inaccuracies in over version of history are fairly common experience in China. There is no discussion - the version learned in school is unequivocal fact. Interestingly, this is true across a wide strata of education and income levels. To start a discussion along these lines was often an experience akin to banging your head against a brick wall

So, easytraveler, what is your asking price for that bridge?
baaj is offline  

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