Blocked by Trump: Twitter Users Sound Off on Being Barred


By blocking users on Twitter, President Trump has violated the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

The lawsuit was brought by seven Twitter users — including a Texas police officer, a New York comedy writer and a Nashville surgeon — who claimed that Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed was an official government account and that preventing users from following it was unconstitutional.

In her ruling, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote that the plaintiffs who sought to view and engage with Mr. Trump’s tweets alongside those who were not restricted were “protected by the First Amendment.” The judge, though, did not require the president or Twitter to unblock anyone.

The number of users blocked from the president’s account @realDonaldTrump, which has more than 52 million followers, is known only to Mr. Trump, to those who have access to his account and to Twitter.

After months of enjoying the “exchange of ideas” in replies to the president’s tweets, she was blocked in July 2017 for suggesting that Mr. Trump not use the platform to boast about his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. She felt he was profiting from his position.

Getting blocked made her feel muzzled and disenfranchised, she said. She had noticed many others getting barred, those she’d previously conversed with, but she never thought it would happen to her because she said she never made insulting comments. She later noticed that users who had targeted her with violent threats were still commenting on the president’s posts. “This was viewpoint discrimination, an injustice and a violation of my rights,” she said.

The verdict on Wednesday was “incredibly vindicating,” she said. “It shows that it wasn’t just a wacky perspective that I had.”

‘Every tweet — in which we protest Trump’s abuses of his office — is important’

Anne Rice, a 76-year-old author most famous for her series “The Vampire Chronicles,” has long been a vocal critic of the president and was blocked years ago, she said on Wednesday.

While she couldn’t remember the exact tweet that caused her to be barred, “it certainly was not abusive,” she said.

Being blocked has been a nuisance, she said. “I have to look up Trump’s tweets every day to see what the national discussion is about,” she said. She called his proclivity unfair, “considering how widely he has used Twitter for policy.”

With this ruling, she hopes to be unblocked. “Every tweet — in which we protest Trump’s abuses of his office — is important,” she said. “If we can respond to Trump’s own tweets directly, we can reach some of his ‘base.’”

‘What he’s done is create an echo chamber’

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William LeGate, a tech entrepreneur, engaged with President Trump’s Twitter posts until he was blocked for suggesting the president had a crush on Hillary Clinton.CreditStephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Web Summit

William LeGate, a 23-year-old tech entrepreneur living in Los Angeles, started interacting with President Trump’s tweets in January 2017, and quickly grew fond of replying to the president and others in the forum beneath Mr. Trump’s posts.

When he was blocked six months later for suggesting that the president had a crush on Hillary Clinton, he had a “feeling of disbelief that the person with the highest authority in the land is censoring.”

“That’s the primary method he communicates official government information,” he said. “His tweets are official statements.”

Mr. LeGate, who’s now the digital director for a congressional campaign, said the issue of the president’s blocking users is not superficial. “What he’s done is create an echo chamber, and it makes it seem that public opinion of him than is much better than it is,” Mr. LeGate said. “Once he started blocking people, it changed the perception.”

‘It was kind of a joke, at first’

Norma Kwée, a 33-year-old from Los Angeles who works in the technology sector, was confused as to why she was blocked by President Trump in June 2016 because she had never, at that point, tweeted anything political, nor had she commented on the president’s tweets.

She combed through her posts to see what may have irritated him, but found nothing, Ms. Kwée said on Wednesday. Maybe it was because she was gay, or maybe it was because she worked in tech, she had wondered. Maybe an automated bot did the culling? She never found out why.

“It was kind of a joke, at first, almost like an honor that someone way more powerful than me would take the time,” she said.

But now that he’s become the president, “I find it frustrating,” she said. Instead of using a roundabout way to see his tweets, “I would like to be able to verify these things myself,” she said.

As for the ruling, “I can’t imagine that this will be an instant change,” but she hopes it will help clarify what’s acceptable on social media.

‘He didn’t want other people to see what I was writing’

When Caroline Orr, a 32-year-old researcher from Richmond, Va., tweeted that she had been blocked, it resonated with thousands of people on the platform.

She wrote: “Trump blocked me today for 1 (or both) of these threads. It’d be a shame if anyone RTd them.”

More that 20,000 people did.

Ms. Orr thinks the president barred her because “he didn’t want other people to see what I was writing.” His effort backfired, she said.

As for her interactions with his tweets: “I think it struck a chord with him and he realized that he couldn’t redefine reality for his supporters until he got his most effective critics out of the way,” she said. “I think it’s dangerous to let Trump’s false claims and lies go unanswered.”

Kenya Bans Film About 2 Girls in Love Because It’s ‘Too Hopeful’


“My philosophy is to make hopeful, joyful films about Africa,” she said. “It goes against my ethos to create work that goes against that identity.”

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A still image from “Rafiki.” Ms. Kahiu said that the Kenya Film Classification Board did not object to several scenes of kissing and intimacy between the two girls but asked her to change the ending, which, she said, the board found “too hopeful.”

The film ends by showing the two girls together, but it remains unclear whether they have maintained a relationship.

“It is actually quite an ambiguous ending,” Ms. Kahiu said.

Ms. Kahiu said she had wanted the film to receive the Kenyan equivalent of an R rating, limiting the audience to viewers over 18.

“We wanted adults to be able to have conversations, or have the right to decide whether or not they want to watch it,” she said. “We’re just saying give them the ability to choose. That’s been denied.”

The film ban comes as a Kenyan courts are reconsidering colonial-era laws discriminating against gays and lesbians. In March, an appeals court ruled that a law requiring the police to conduct anal exams on people accused of same-sex relationships was unconstitutional. A court in Nairobi is considering whether to overturn a British colonial-era law banning same-sex relationships.

Mr. Mutua and the board have previously targeted content they believe promotes homosexuality. The board banned the 2014 film “Stories of Our Lives,” which was a series of short dramatizations of the lives of gays and lesbians in Kenya. In 2016, a local network dropped a podcast called “Spread,” which discussed sex and sexuality, after Mr. Mutua accused its female co-hosts of promoting lesbianism.

The day before the ruling against “Rafiki,” William Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president, said in a nationally televised speech that privately watching films banned by the classification board is illegal, and he warned against discussing “illegal material.”

Ms. Kahiu said the ban amounted to creative censorship and violated her constitutional rights.

“Under the Constitution, we have the right to freedom of expression,” she said. “Nowhere does it say that the Kenya Film Classification Board has a right to deny that freedom.”

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‘I Am Gay, Not a Pervert’: Furor Erupts in China as Sina Weibo Bans Gay Content


The Beijing L.G.B.T. Center said in a post, “We are all gay tonight,” alongside photographs of young men and women. While some posts were censored, the hashtag that translates to #Iamgaynotapervert was viewed more than 1.35 million times.

Many activists had harsh words for Sina Weibo, saying that its attempts to limit free speech had gone too far and that gay people were being punished because their culture was considered out of the mainstream.

“Our whole group went ballistic,” said Zhong Xinyue, 22, an intern at the Canton Rainbow Group, an advocacy organization in the southern city of Guangzhou. She lamented the loss of a popular Weibo account called the Gay Voice, which was deleted on Saturday.

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Tens of thousands of Chinese residents took to social media over the weekend to protest efforts to censor gay-themed images by the social network Sina Weibo.

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via Weibo

Even the state-run newspaper The People’s Daily published an article online that included veiled criticism of Weibo’s announcement. The article said that being gay or bisexual was “not a disease,” but it added that gay people needed to “take on their own social responsibilities while advocating their rights.”

Although homosexuality is no longer a crime in China, a conservative culture persists that looks down on people in same-sex relationships. Some textbooks still describe homosexuality as a psychological disorder, and gay characters are rarely shown in movies or on television.

Ma Baoli, the founder of Blued, a popular gay dating app, said the country’s lack of sexual education had exacerbated a culture of intolerance.

“It’s easy to aggravate the public’s discrimination against sexual minorities,” said Mr. Ma, referring to Weibo’s announcement.

Many activists say they are concerned that Mr. Xi’s tightening grip on the internet will dampen a thriving online culture that they say binds the gay community together.

Chen Du, a gay activist in Guangzhou, said Weibo’s campaign would hurt the image of gay people in China and make it more difficult for young people to come out.

“People who are ready to come out are going to be pushed back to where they used to be, faced with pressure and helplessness,” he said.

Under Mr. Xi, internet companies have faced pressure to eliminate content that the government deems unwholesome or pornographic — not just politically sensitive — harking back to the days when the Communist Party was an arbiter of public morality.

Mr. Xi put in place a stricter cybersecurity law last year that has given the state more power to punish and investigate companies that publish content the government labels unsafe or offensive.

This past week, China’s top media regulator ordered Bytedance, a prominent Chinese technology start-up, to shut down an app for sharing jokes and videos, saying it had helped spread vulgar content.

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Top Pakistani News Channel Is Forced Off Air, and Eyes Are on the Military


The Committee to Protect Journalists this week expressed concerns over the censorship of Geo network.

“The arbitrary suspension of Geo TV on cable TV is a direct assault on Pakistan’s constitutionally guaranteed right to access information,” Steven Butler, the committee’s Asia program coordinator, said in a statement. “It’s outrageous that the authorities are either unable to find or too frightened to name those powerful enough to orchestrate the blocking of the news distribution.”

The censorship has sent a chill through the country’s news media networks, most of which have given scant coverage to Geo’s suspension.

A senior official of another television news network based in Karachi said his channel was backing off from any coverage of Geo’s blockage. “The channels are falling in line to avoid a similar fate,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

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The Geo television building in Islamabad, where criticism of the military over the ouster of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has continued.

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Aamir Qureshi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Karachi, the country’s commercial hub and center of the media industry, attempts to tune into Geo are met with a screen warning reading “You are not authorized to watch this channel,” even though the network is not a premium offering.

The action against Geo is coming at a time of increased tension between the military and the civilian government, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Mr. Sharif was ousted from power last year in a controversial verdict by the Supreme Court, and he and his children are on trial over corruption charges in a special court.

Mr. Sharif denies any financial wrongdoing and has led a forceful public campaign against his ouster, accusing the military and the judiciary of being in cahoots to have him removed from office. Both the military and judiciary deny the accusations.

A verdict in the case is expected in the next few weeks, and a conviction — which is also expected — would surely lead to more political chaos, and to more public accusations that the military is pressing to have the Sharifs jailed.

Geo News, which is owned by Jang Group and considered to be the most influential and watched news network, has been sympathetic to Mr. Sharif and critical of his chief political rival, Imran Khan.

Geo has also upset the military with its critical coverage of Pakistan’s placement on a terrorism financing watch list this year. More recently, news reports and articles critical of the army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his domestic and foreign policy preferences, known here now as the Bajwa Doctrine, have also drawn the ire of senior military officials.

The military has been uneasy with Geo’s editorial line in the past, as well. In 2014, the channel’s license was temporarily suspended after unknown gunmen attacked one of its popular talk show hosts, Hamid Mir, and his relatives accused the military’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, of being behind the assault. The military has also spurned the channel’s campaign to have friendlier ties with India some years ago.

Saqib Nisar, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, expressed disapproval of the blockage of Geo’s transmission during a court hearing Wednesday in a separate case dealing with media’s code of conduct. “Except God, no one on Earth can block transmission of Geo channels unlawfully,” the chief justice was quoted as saying after being informed that most of Geo’s transmission was suspended.

But the chief justice has also questioned the high placement of Geo on the distribution lists and objected to Geo getting the highest number of government advertisements from the governing political party.

Mr. Rahman, the network’s chief executive, said that hopes of any legal reprieve seem dim.

“We are going to the Supreme Court,” he said, “but we have been told not to expect justice.”

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A Hong Kong Newspaper on a Mission to Promote China’s Soft Power


But journalists worry that Alibaba, which has become one of the most highly valued companies in the world in part by maintaining good ties with the Chinese government, is abandoning The Post’s history of scrappy reporting to please Beijing.

“By explicitly stating that its aim is to tell a positive story of China and running questionable stories, management undermines the very attributes that make the S.C.M.P. useful in the first place,” said Yuen Chan, a journalist and senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

As businesses and governments around the world look for ways to skirt the traditional news media, The Post has become a test case for how a new owner can co-opt an established brand to promote certain viewpoints. Alibaba executives say they want to present a “fair and balanced” alternative to foreign media, a mission statement that echoes Fox News.

Gary Liu, a Harvard-educated technology entrepreneur who is the Post’s chief executive, said the newspaper could offer a more nuanced portrait of China than Western news outlets, with a staff of 350 journalists in Asia, including about 40 in the mainland.

“We are not here, certainly, to promote the views and wishes of Beijing,” said Mr. Liu, who was previously chief executive of Digg, a news aggregation site in New York.

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“We are not here, certainly, to promote the views and wishes of Beijing,” said Gary Liu, the Post’s chief executive.

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Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

But a culture of self-censorship at the newspaper predates its purchase by Alibaba, said Wang Feng, who served as The Post’s online editor from 2012 to 2015. He said top editors routinely rewrote, played down or withheld critical stories for fear of offending influential Chinese officials or business executives.

“It was often done in a very hush-hush manner,” said Mr. Wang, now the editor of the Chinese-language website of The Financial Times. “You could see that people were not exactly free to speak their minds.”

That timidity has persisted under Alibaba, according to more than a dozen Post journalists who, speaking on condition of anonymity, described how the paper shies away from investigative reporting on Communist Party leaders and contentious subjects such as human rights.

Last year, The Post retracted a business column that suggested an investor in Hong Kong had ties to a trusted adviser to President Xi Jinping and had used his connections to amass wealth. The editors said the column made “insinuations beyond the facts.”

Its author, Shirley Yam, a well-respected financial commentator, resigned. In a statement, Ms. Yam defended her column, saying that editors had vetted the piece extensively before its publication.

Some critics said the more notable change under Alibaba may be The Post’s ramped-up production of articles that present China in a friendly light.

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Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and one of China’s richest men, at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January.

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Laurent Gillieron/European Pressphoto Agency

In February, Post journalists said, the Ministry of Public Security pushed the paper’s top editors to send a reporter to interview Gui Minhai, a political critic and Swedish citizen whom the Chinese police had snatched from a train.

Mr. Gui was then quoted saying he had broken Chinese law and did not want help from the outside world. In its coverage, The Post said that the interview with Mr. Gui was “government-arranged.”

“The Post risks being a vehicle in Beijing’s overall propaganda machinery,” said Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a former Post journalist.

Mr. Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, has all but eliminated critical reporting in the mainland, placed new pressure on Hong Kong media and ordered a vast expansion of China’s publicity machine, with state broadcasters merged into a single entity called the “Voice of China” to strengthen China’s international messaging.

Chow Chung-yan, who oversees coverage of China and Hong Kong, denied The Post yields to pressure from Beijing.

“We are independent and free,” he said. “We don’t have people calling into our newsroom asking what we will publish.”

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A monitor showing website traffic at the Post’s headquarters in Hong Kong. Traffic to its website has roughly tripled over the past year.

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Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The Post’s editor in chief, Tammy Tam, a former Hong Kong television broadcaster, declined to be interviewed. “We believe in reporting freely, fearlessly and in accordance with the highest editorial standards,” she said in a statement.

The Post’s leaders say that Alibaba executives, who have offices a few floors above the newsroom, are not involved in editorial decisions. But Mr. Tsai, the co-founder who spoke at the celebration last month, maintains a close connection, offering occasional feedback on coverage and new products.

There has been at least one noticeable change since the sale: an outpouring of coverage of Alibaba and its leader, Jack Ma, one of China’s richest men. Articles mentioning Alibaba reached an average of about 3.5 per day last year online and in print, roughly double the number in 2016, according to an archival search.

Alibaba appears to be willing to lose money on The Post, which is not profitable, according to newsroom leaders. Mr. Tsai has said The Post, with a circulation of about 101,000 and more than 10 million monthly active users on its website, may not become a self-sustaining business for at least five more years.

Traffic to The Post’s website has roughly tripled over the past year, the company said. Alibaba made access free when it took over.

But Alibaba has abandoned ambitions of expanding the audience for the Post’s journalism in the mainland, where its website is blocked. Even with its pro-China mission, articles in The Post still touch on topics that are off limits to mainland readers, like the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

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The Post’s new headquarters features an in-house pub that serves Post Hop, a custom-made beer.

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Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

While many of its approximately 850 articles a week appear tailored for a Hong Kong or Asian audience, The Post has gone on a hiring spree of journalists from outlets like BBC and The New York Times to help bring an international tone to its coverage.

To cater to young people and readers in the United States, now its largest market, the Post this month launched Inkstone, an app and newsletter that offers a conversational take on China, and Abacus, a multimedia site focused on technology. The new products also help blunt criticism that The Post is a propaganda tool.

“Diss the national anthem? That’s up to three years in the slammer,” read one recent headline on an Inkstone article about penalties for mocking the Chinese national anthem in Hong Kong.

The Post is catering to readers in the United States with new products, such as multimedia apps about China. Video by Inkstone News

The Post’s success may hinge on persuading overseas readers that it delivers reliable journalism about China. But on the front lines, reporters are grappling with perceptions that the paper is another Chinese state news media outlet.

Tom Grundy, editor of the Hong Kong Free Press, a rival news site, said The Post was home to talented reporters. But he said Alibaba’s ownership of the paper and recent editorial missteps risked tarnishing high-quality work.

“No matter how good their output,” he said, “there will always be distrust.”

Robert Delaney, a New York-based correspondent for The Post, said he had difficulty lining up interviews with American politicians and other sources because they assumed he worked for a news outlet controlled by the Communist Party.

Now Mr. Delaney, a former China correspondent for Bloomberg News, makes a point of clarifying.

“Within the first minute, I just want to let them know, ‘Just so you know, we’re not a mainland Chinese newspaper, even though we have China in our name,’” he said. “That gets kind of awkward.”

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Beijing Journal: A Beijing Bookstore Where George Washington Is on the Shelves


A large image of Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher and freethinker, stands out among a galaxy of literary posters lining the wall of the entry staircase, a taste of what’s to come.

“China is not a liberal society, it’s not a free country,” Mr. Liu said, sitting in a quiet corner of the Thinkers Cafe, a mellow hangout within the store that meanders along a side corridor to a small back room furnished with antique Chinese furniture.

“But the bookstore is a way to express our longing for freedom and our hope for the establishment of a free society,” he said.

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The Thinkers Cafe, a mellow hangout within the store.

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Bryan Denton for The New York Times

A new patron would be forgiven for believing the owner had a lively sense of irony. One of the first books to catch the eye on the front table is an 11th edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order.”

The book is a recent hot seller. That is not because members of the Communist Party want to introduce parliamentary procedures written by a 19th-century American Army major to their gatherings. Chinese executives and entrepreneurs buy the volume for business reasons: to learn how to conduct a product conference, or manage a sales convention, Mr. Liu said.

A guide to running a democratic legislature, “How Parliament Works,” by an early 20th-century Canadian politician, Robert Rogers, is also on the front table.

“This is more politically sensitive,” Mr. Liu said. “Unfortunately, it is not as popular as Roberts.”

All Sages has the feel of a well-ordered, smaller version of the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan, though judging from the photos on the walls, Mr. Liu prefers comparisons with the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco and Shakespeare & Company in Paris. Three cats — sometimes tiptoeing over the books on the tables — add some charm.

A People’s Liberation Army veteran is in charge of the floor; he keeps displays in meticulous order and the wood floor noticeably clean. A few canvas bags and T-shirts with snappy slogans are for sale near the front desk, but the focus is on the books. The coffee in the cafe is not for lingering over.

A banner in English under the cash register reads, “I cannot live without books.” A copy of the Declaration of Independence hangs by the front door.

The clientele seems to be as varied as the books. The store is strategically located, within walking distance of China’s premier university campus, but people from all over the country drop by.

On a recent weekend, a manager of a chemical company in the southern city of Shenzhen pushed a trolley full of books to the cashier for dispatch home by air courier. High-ranking military officers, party officials, rich society figures and celebrity entrepreneurs are all customers.

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The books in All Sages are all in Chinese. That makes the selection dependent not only on the owner’s broad-ranging tastes, but on the Chinese publishing houses.

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Bryan Denton for The New York Times

“It’s a secret what they buy,” Mr. Liu said. “But take a look at the books, and you will see.”

The books in All Sages are all in Chinese. That makes the selection dependent not only on Mr. Liu’s broad-ranging tastes, but on the Chinese publishing houses.

They, in turn, are subject to the Communist Party censors who control what is published by Chinese authors and foreign writers translated into Chinese.

The censorship is not a precise art, but it is a constant presence. Internal party guidelines on what is prohibited are passed from the propaganda apparatus to the bosses of the publishing houses, sometimes on a daily basis. They are never made public. Nor is any list of banned books.

Some basic rules prevail, Mr. Liu said. The first motivation of the censors is protection of the Communist Party. “Anything that explains the Communist Party as a threat is a red line,” he said.

This leads to some striking choices. Books about the Soviet Union’s labor camps are banned, but accounts of the Nazi concentration camps are tolerated. Histories of Castro’s rule in Cuba are not translated much; Cuba’s medical system compared too favorably with China’s overcrowded hospitals.

With about 600 large, state-run publishing houses and 3,000 smaller publishers attached to government agencies, some titles that annoy the government sometimes slip through the net. Publishers tend to be liberals and lovers of literature, and some of them want to publish good books. Some push the parameters.

So in an exception to the rule against maligning a Communist Party, one of Mr. Liu’s favorites, Arthur Koestler’s novel “Darkness at Noon,” about the Soviet gulag, was available in China for many years.

It was last published in 2006, however, and now appears to be banned. Secondhand editions of Koestler’s classic are available online for $50. The original price: $1.50.

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A copy of the Declaration of Independence hangs by the front door.

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Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Among the steady sellers at All Sages are books on American history and biographies of the early presidents — Washington and Jefferson in particular — and of Benjamin Franklin. The interest in America’s founding fathers is tied up with a thirst to know how America became a democratic and global power, Mr. Liu said.

Recent political books about presidential election campaigns do not appeal much to his clientele, Mr. Liu said. He said he would read Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” due out in Chinese soon, before stocking it.

Two standbys for Western liberals — Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism” and George Washington’s Farewell Address, which outlines his argument for term limits — have always sold well.

In the last several weeks, both works circulated on the Chinese internet, in a quiet protest against Mr. Xi’s decision to scrap the Chinese Constitution’s two-term limit for presidents. Most likely, the censors never read what Washington had to say, Mr. Liu said.

Weekends are the busiest time at the store, and on a recent Saturday the narrow aisles were packed, especially around the nonfiction shelves. Fiction is not the store’s strength.

There is plenty of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro but no Joan Didion. Books on feminism merit only two shelves, a function of slow demand.

In the philosophy section, Sue Ping, 29, a Tsinghua University M.B.A. student dressed in a white sweater, jeans and a black beret, was searching for Plato’s “The Republic.” “For me, it’s paradise,” Ms. Ping said of the store. “I buy online but I come because I like the atmosphere. It’s very open, you feel welcome.”

A few shelves away, Daisy Fu, 45, a primary school science teacher, who came with her husband on their motorbike, was deciding whether to buy a book about North Korea. “A bookstore is a symbol of culture; we need it,” she said. “Even though I don’t come often, it’s important to know I can come and walk among the books.”

One book that Mr. Liu knows he will never be able to stock stands out. Works critical of Mao Zedong are automatically banned, and a sensational memoir, “A Life of Chairman Mao” by Li Zhisui, Mao’s personal doctor of many years, is considered a particular abomination. The book describes Mao as a tyrannical personality with a fiendish sexual appetite and appalling personal hygiene who suffered from a motor neuron disease in his last years.

“There is literally no way to get this book in China,” Mr. Liu said. “Just imagine if I put two copies on the shelves. The minimum punishment would be a fine of $3,000. The medium-level punishment would be shutting down the bookstore. And the most extreme would be the bookstore owner jailed for three to five years.”

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