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Beijing says time out to Time Out

Anyone who’s ever lived in London, New York, Chicago, or any one of 20 other cities around the world knows that Time Out is an indispensable guide to going out on the town. The arts and entertainment magazine lists events and reviews of museum exhibitions, theater performances, movies, clubs, restaurants, and anything else you can ...

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Anyone who's ever lived in London, New York, Chicago, or any one of 20 other cities around the world knows that Time Out is an indispensable guide to going out on the town. The arts and entertainment magazine lists events and reviews of museum exhibitions, theater performances, movies, clubs, restaurants, and anything else you can think of as a way to spend your free time. It's all in good fun, and totally apolitical, right?

Not according to China. The country's General Administration of Press and Publications, which is in charge of censoring media it deems threatening to the government, has banned the June issue of Time Out Beijing. The agency's offical reason for banning the distribution of the English-language magazine is that it lacks a proper license. But the publisher of Time Out, which is headquartered in London, has implied that it's all part of Beijing's crackdown on foreign influences in the runup to this summer's Olympics. The real test will be whether the magazine is allowed to go to press in August, when foreigners are flooding the city for the games. In the meantime, Internet users can still access the Web site to get their fix on what to do in Beijing.

Anyone who’s ever lived in London, New York, Chicago, or any one of 20 other cities around the world knows that Time Out is an indispensable guide to going out on the town. The arts and entertainment magazine lists events and reviews of museum exhibitions, theater performances, movies, clubs, restaurants, and anything else you can think of as a way to spend your free time. It’s all in good fun, and totally apolitical, right?

Not according to China. The country’s General Administration of Press and Publications, which is in charge of censoring media it deems threatening to the government, has banned the June issue of Time Out Beijing. The agency’s offical reason for banning the distribution of the English-language magazine is that it lacks a proper license. But the publisher of Time Out, which is headquartered in London, has implied that it’s all part of Beijing’s crackdown on foreign influences in the runup to this summer’s Olympics. The real test will be whether the magazine is allowed to go to press in August, when foreigners are flooding the city for the games. In the meantime, Internet users can still access the Web site to get their fix on what to do in Beijing.

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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