Taobao has ordered its vendors to stop selling foreign publications with immediate effect, even titles that have been approved by authorities for circulation in China.
The Tabao ban brings to an end one of the few places where Chinese consumers can browse overseas publications free from censorship, largely because the site’s business model lets individual vendors do business directly with customers, reports Quartz Media.
Alibaba’s online shopping platformsays the new rule is necessary to “manage market order” and provide a safe shopping environment.
In China, the main distributors of foreign media are state-owned publishers like Xinhua. The new rule applies to them as well, says Taobao.
“If they ban it, there’s nothing we can do but close the shop,” says the owner of Taobao bookstore Fangzhou Culture, which has been selling religious and children’s books in original-language versions since May last year.