From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File

Via NPR:  China Seizes Toilet Tissue Featuring Likeness Of Hong Kong Leader.

FILED UNDER: Asia, World Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. DrDaveT says:

    It’s really tempting to make snide comments about repressive regimes here. And then I stop to think — what would happen if an American company started making toilet paper with the American flag on every sheet?

    It would certainly be informative to watch the ensuing… discussion.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    I seem to recall from reading The Arms of Krupp many years ago that for some time Krupp employed people as Klosetpapier Inspektor. They were charged with making sure employees weren’t using TP to distribute subversive propoganda.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    The directive came straight from the number 2 man in the Hong Kong Democratic Party.

  4. rodney dill says:

    @DrDaveT: The discussion that would happen here is almost the entire difference between China and the US. Almost certainly the US government would not set in and put a stop US Flags on toilet paper here.

    Beyond that there would be some similarities with China, and some major differences. First, It would cause a big uproar from (I assume) mostly the right, but not necessarily just the right. There would be calls for the government to ban it, via new or existing or imagined laws. There would certainly be organized boycotts and commercial pressure applied (which is allowed here and different from an oppressive regime intervention).

    There could be local or state government action to try and ban such items, (or confiscate the flag TP) Some such attempts may succeed in the short term, causing the initiation of lawsuits to overturn the local or state actions, and to preserve the rights of the TP manufacturers. It could all be pretty amusing and messy here, but not the same as a repressive regime just unilaterally making the decision.

  5. CET says:

    Life must be very difficult for those without a sense of humor . . .

  6. JWH says:

    @C. Clavin: Dammit, I was about to make that joke. But you flushed my hopes away.

  7. DrDaveT says:

    @rodney dill:

    It could all be pretty amusing and messy here, but not the same as a repressive regime just unilaterally making the decision.

    Agreed. And therein lies much of the merit of our system of government. It’s not that our politicos are any less venal, stupid, or self-important. It’s that they can’t do nearly as much harm. Here, it would be (a subset of) the people who would (with no awareness of irony) demand that we defend our freedom by stamping out that particular form of free expression.