Go Back > Urban Legends > Urban Legends

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 16 July 2007, 11:42 AM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,443
Borg Lonely Planet guides (not) confiscated in China

Here's one I heard on the ferry that may be a traveller's myth:

An American woman confidently told everybody that they should hide their Lonely Planet guides to China when entering the country, because otherwise they'd be confiscated since they don't list Taiwan as part of China. She said it had happened to a friend of hers who had offered to rip out the map page, but that wasn't good enough, and that she'd heard it happened to loads of people.

I was fairly sure it was untrue but stuck the guide at the bottom of my rucksack to be on the safe side - in fact nobody looked in our bags at all at the ferry port, and you can certainly read the thing openly with no trouble. China doesn't have a lot to gain from upsetting tourists and presenting a bad image at the moment.

What I think might be true is that they won't sell it here - I've only checked one bookshop English-language section so far, but they had a reasonable selection of Lonely Planet guides with the China one conspicuous by its absence. (No chance of Taiwan either.) They did have the individual guides to Shanghai and Beijing.

Anybody else heard this one?
Reply With Quote
Old 16 July 2007, 11:49 AM
Don Enrico's Avatar
Don Enrico Don Enrico is online now
Join Date: 05 October 2004
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 7,722

I haven't heard that before, but I wouldn't have had a chance, either, because I've never been to China.

Concerning border guards confiscating the travel guide, if the experience from the (late) German border (FRG/GDR) is anything to jugde from, such a decision may have been made by the guard himself (and maybe even on a case-to-case basis). That wouldn't mean that there is a standing order to confiscate the book.

The "China" guide book missing from a bookstore in China may be an indication that it's banned - or that it's sold out, which wouldn't surprise me (it's probably the most sought after book from the series in China).

Don Enrico
Reply With Quote
Old 16 July 2007, 02:54 PM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,791

Glad to hear you made it safely over! I hope the weather wasn't too rough?

My guess about guidebooks is that, like lots of other things in Asia, everyone is satisfied if they can make it look as if they're doing what they're supposed to be doing: keeping contraband out. Appearance is (almost) everything.
Reply With Quote
Old 16 July 2007, 03:48 PM
Posts: n/a

Actually, people have had their LP guides confiscated. Lonely Planet itself advises
Travellers entering China by road or rail across the southeastern border, particularly the Vietnamese frontier, report that Lonely Planet China guidebooks have been confiscated by border officials. This is due to sensitivity regarding maps of China that do not include Taiwan. Travellers should consider putting a cover on the book to make it less recognisable and just to be safe, copy down any crucial details you might need while in the country.
You can certainly find first person reports. This blog discusses the issue and quotes from reports. More on China and Lonely Planet
Reply With Quote
Old 17 July 2007, 05:02 AM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,443

Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Glad to hear you made it safely over! I hope the weather wasn't too rough?
Ha ha - we caught the tail end of that typhoon! The second morning wasn't much fun...

Thanks for finding that, Kathy - should have thought to look, but searching can be a bit slow from here. Clearly they're not that consistent about enforcing it.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.