Chinese Government Burns Cthulhu RPG Print Run

The Sassoon Files is a Call of Cthulhu sourcebook Kickstarted by Sons of the Singularity... and printed in China. This week, they reported that the Chinese government had ordered the destruction of their entire print run.


sassoon.jpg


The Sassoon Files
is a Cthulhu mythos campaign set in 1920s Shanghai.

They wrote to their backers on March 22nd -- "We have suffered an unfortunate and unexpected setback with the off-set print run. On March 20th, the Chinese government ordered the destruction of our books. Although the printer returned our deposit, we need to find another printer and this will result in a delay in fulfillment. We are committed to completing the print run and fulfillment."


[video=youtube;G9Urosc-JEY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Urosc-JEY[/video]​
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Hmmm, the major difference being that FLGS are significantly fewer than restaurants. I'm certain we could improve on this comparison. :p

For me the comparison holds. Increasingly there are bars/pubs, coffee shops, community centers, and libraries that host gaming groups. With Meetup.com's deal with WeWork, turnkey/coworking office space facilities are becoming reasonable venues for game groups. Many include gaming libraries where you can borrow a game and play it for free.

I've been to many FLGS where I'm unable to go and play a game. My impression of most FLGS is less selection and higher prices than online, limited gaming space that is always taken up by the core gamers that seem to always be there, and no (or vending-machine poor) food and drink to keep me there even if there were a table available.

But I don't want to hijack this thread further. There are other threads where the importance of FLGS has been debated.

REGARDING THE ORIGINAL TOPIC OF THIS THREAD:

As for Chinese censorship, I'm not a fan of any censorship, including Canadian and European censorship that would be unconstitutional in the USA. Whether that means I should only ethically print books and games in the USA, would be interesting to debate. But putting that aside for now, if you are business contracting with businesses in other countries, it behooves you to understand the rules and regulations that could affect your business. One would like to think that the company that you are working with would help you with this, but they could very well be willing look the other way to get the business, hoping that it will go undiscovered by the authorities. You should at least make sure that your contract covers this situation, shifting the burden of following local laws and regulations on the printer.

It seems that the OP's company got their money back, which is good. Selecting a company in another company that has a good track record is important. They will not want to harm their reputation by screwing over their customer in a situation like this.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
The reason it was done is political. The PRC is hypersensitive about the time between the collapsed if the imperial order and 1949.

This happened a decade or so ago with Paradox Interactive and Hearts of Iron II.
Hoi2 depicts the various factions and has things like Xinjiang and Tibet as independent.

You can play as the RoC, Communists and Guangxi Clique as well along with Shaanxi. RoC was around in the 20s and is still around in Taiwan. Said game is banned in China.
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
The reason it was done is political.
Does the reason matter?

The 'She Bleeds' incident was at a North American warehouse, does that make it better or worse?

Book 'burning' destruction goes way, way back with TSR. Actually, the reason why TSR went under was due to book destruction by distributors in the US. Not even trying to sell the books, destroy the books, send what's left back to TSR and claim their money back. Purely financial motivations. And TSR isn't the only publisher that happened too...

And do we want every book in print? What about the private sex images from person x without their consent? Can't they claim that they don't want those books around and want them destroyed? We can go way, way darker, things like childporn, snuff images, etc. The saying isn't for nothing "The pen is mightier then the sword!", that means that sometimes you need to remove stuff...

Honestly, only a print run was destroyed here, not the source files, so a reprint is likely at a different location. And it was a mediocre RPG book at that, this news is more press then the book ever had had before... You can have a ton of reasons why it isn't acceptable to print a book over subject x or images of subject y, especially in different countries an cultures. Most of the Europeans are still flabbergasted about the American dislike of the nipple on public television... We think it's stupid, a lot of Americans don't, do we need to start a trade war now? We have weird stuff in The Netherlands (besides the red light district, legal canabis, clogs, and windmills) as well, we have something called 'Majestyprofanation', curse at the king/queen and you can go to jail... Yeah, we still have one of the 26 monarchies that 'control' 43 of 195 countries in the world... How archaic is that...

What I'm saying is that we all have things that others, half a planet away don't want to or can't understand. No reason to go ballistic over that. Most larger companies do more risk analysis when they start operations in another country, a one-man-team might have done some more research on the matter before printing their books in China. Heck, when I read (years ago) that a lot of WoW was changed due to the Chinese market, my first thought was that this might affect RPG/wargame production in China. If I were ever to do production there I would certainly do a bit more research on the subject. Just like selling products in foreign markets, what if your product violates some rule and it's stuck at the border forever...
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Does the reason matter?

For those who seek to do business there? Absolutely. For their customers, too.

You can’t do a proper analysis of the costs of doing business in a country if you don’t understand the nature of the risks.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Does the reason matter?

The 'She Bleeds' incident was at a North American warehouse, does that make it better or worse?

Book 'burning' destruction goes way, way back with TSR. Actually, the reason why TSR went under was due to book destruction by distributors in the US. Not even trying to sell the books, destroy the books, send what's left back to TSR and claim their money back. Purely financial motivations. And TSR isn't the only publisher that happened too...

And do we want every book in print? What about the private sex images from person x without their consent? Can't they claim that they don't want those books around and want them destroyed? We can go way, way darker, things like childporn, snuff images, etc. The saying isn't for nothing "The pen is mightier then the sword!", that means that sometimes you need to remove stuff...

Honestly, only a print run was destroyed here, not the source files, so a reprint is likely at a different location. And it was a mediocre RPG book at that, this news is more press then the book ever had had before... You can have a ton of reasons why it isn't acceptable to print a book over subject x or images of subject y, especially in different countries an cultures. Most of the Europeans are still flabbergasted about the American dislike of the nipple on public television... We think it's stupid, a lot of Americans don't, do we need to start a trade war now? We have weird stuff in The Netherlands (besides the red light district, legal canabis, clogs, and windmills) as well, we have something called 'Majestyprofanation', curse at the king/queen and you can go to jail... Yeah, we still have one of the 26 monarchies that 'control' 43 of 195 countries in the world... How archaic is that...

What I'm saying is that we all have things that others, half a planet away don't want to or can't understand. No reason to go ballistic over that. Most larger companies do more risk analysis when they start operations in another country, a one-man-team might have done some more research on the matter before printing their books in China. Heck, when I read (years ago) that a lot of WoW was changed due to the Chinese market, my first thought was that this might affect RPG/wargame production in China. If I were ever to do production there I would certainly do a bit more research on the subject. Just like selling products in foreign markets, what if your product violates some rule and it's stuck at the border forever...

I'm becoming a fan of the monarchy. Elizabeth is my head if state. With various elections and authoritarian regimes the Windsor's are starting to look good.
 

The Chinese censure is being harder, and that is a mistake what will harm themself, because they are going to lose the cultural war. Remember lots of otakus (fanboys who loves manganime, in original Japan has a derogatory or pejorative sense, meaning like "somebody from other family or house") started to learn Japanese language. Manganime fiction has been a door to bring closer to Japanese culture and society. And now the Hallyyu (Korean Wave) also is helping us to know more about South-Korea. Decades ago the teleserie "Kung Fu", with David Garradine as main character caused a great interest in Asian cultures.

The Epoch Times tells Beijing doesn't like movies or series based in ancient China. That may means speculative fiction could be worse. China could use speculative fiction like a hook to show its culture, but they are rejecting their own roots. In the future they are going to find a bad image because they are the "evil empire" in the manganime and the manhwa (Korean manga)/Hallyyu(Korean Wave). OK, the "evil Chinese empire" will use other name. They are blind and they are destroying a powerful propaganda weapon.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/beiji...d-movies-depicting-ancient-china_2851731.html

I suggest to read "The Epoch Times" because tell a lot of interesting things about China in the current age and its past.

I dare to say in the coming cyberpunk fiction the dystopias will not alway in USA but in China, or in countries conquered by China or North Korea, like the videogame "Homefront: revolution".
 

Previously, I had asked if there was any source besides the Kickstarter group to back this story up. I'm happy to report that at least one company did some follow up research: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/wor...novel-highlights-chinas-efforts-to-shape-its/

Most importantly:
The book had “some political problems,” confirmed Lina, a representative of China Seven Color Group who gave only her first name, citing company policy. “They put Zhou Enlai’s photo on a page and used some bad words to describe it.”

Photos of Mr. Zhou, China’s first premier, appears twice in the book, where he is described as a leader “for whom the Chinese people felt genuine affection.” Mr. Zhou died in 1976.

Also, I found this page on the Son's of Singularity's website, which seems relevant: http://sonsofthesingularity.com/sassoon-files-background-4-zhou-enlai/

Notable excepts from this include when they call Zhou Enlai a "spymaster" , said he would "assassinate enemy leaders", and accuse him of kidnapping and torture.

I am opposed to government censorship. However, when putting all this together I am left quite surprised by the amount of surprise shown by Sons of the Singularity. Their video made it seem like they were really caught off guard by this problem. I'm left thinking "Well, what did you expect?". By all means, keep fighting the good fight. But it's important to be aware when you walk onto a battlefield.
 

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