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Writers Blocked: Special Exhibition of Once-banned Taiwan Literature

Writers Blocked: Special Exhibition of Once-banned Taiwan Literature

Book bans restrict not only what can be published but also freedom of thought and expression.

From Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) through the postwar martial law period (1949-1987), Taiwanese experienced decades of censorship on their thoughts and speech. First Japanese colonial officials and then Kuomintang (KMT) government censors shaped the landscape of publishing and allowable public discourse, with bans on "toxic" ideas readily imposed to control minds and solidify the regime. Beyond direct prohibitions on certain works, the censorship ecosystem was such that authors learned to self-censor themselves and their every word. Some works deemed at risk of running afoul of censorship lines were hidden away by their authors instead of submitted for publication.

Although authoritarian rule silences dissent and suppresses individual freedoms, free thought cannot be caged for long.

Writers Blocked takes audiences back to a period in recent Taiwan history where words could literally cost lives. We hope the items, descriptions, and stories within inspire greater public awareness and appreciation of the hard-earned freedoms and democracy they enjoy today in Taiwan.