IN AN underground railway station below the main public library in Shanghai is a spacious bookshop called Jifeng. It is one of the city’s most respected, but its days are numbered. A display inside the entrance (pictured, top) shows how many of them remain before the shop closes—147 as of September 6th. The authorities, it seems, have had enough of its open-minded selection of works and the talks it hosts on controversial topics.
The shop’s landlord is the library, which has told the owners that it has “no choice” but to terminate the rental contract when it expires. Customers are mourning. “I refuse to believe the dream is over…the spirit of freedom will always exist,” wrote one on the bookshop’s noticeboard. The owners, however, have made it clear that the shop is unlikely to get permission to reopen elsewhere in Shanghai for the foreseeable future.
During two decades of operation, Jifeng has tested the patience of Shanghai’s culturally…Continue reading