A great article in Global Times on the CPC's internal book clubs brings depressing news. But firstly, this is how the system works:
According to People's Daily, the choice of books read by officials does not stem only from their personal preferences, given the power they wield. This is all the more crucial as the country is undergoing a period of transition as its reform and opening-up policy is strengthened and social changes arise more frequently.
In keeping with this, several top CPC bodies have recommended six batches of books for officials since February 2010. These bodies, responsible for ideology and political thought within the Party ranks, have forwarded these recommendations to the more than 80 million Party members.
A publishing house told Oriental Outlook, a weekly magazine, that organizations such as the CPC's publicity department sometimes ask for books to be brought to their attention, which they will buy en masse should they approve the recommendations. These bodies are reported to also always keep a close eye on the latest published books.
Which gives you massive influence over the publishing market and so to a certain extent obviates censorship. And now the depressing bit:
Wang Yang, the Party secretary of Guangdong Province, is well-known for his progressive political ideas and policies. In 2007, when he held positions in Chongqing Municipality, Wang recommended the World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. This author became widely known in Chongqing because of Wang.
OK. He's a wrong 'un.