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All eyes on China at the Frankfurt Book Fair

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The guest of honor at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair (the world's biggest trade show for book publishers) is a huge figure indeed. In fact, with a population of one billion-plus, China is just about the most enormous honoree imaginable. But headlines tracking the celebrated guest are running mixed at best.

The Frankfurt Book Fair opened today. And as notes, the Chinese delegation has "impeccable bragging rights – it invented printing first." There is a special display at the fair which tells the story of an inventor named Bi Sheng who devised the world's first moveable type system about 1,000 years ago.

But not all the fair's attendees are as dazzled by the historic implications. "China, the Unwelcome Guest" is the way Spiegel Online begins its coverage of the fair. The guest of honor, the Spiegel piece points out, is a country which ranks 167 out of 173 on the Reporters Without Borders's worldwide index of press freedom. It is also a country that bans about 600 books a year.


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