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China has taken aim at major American businesses as it looks for ways to retaliate against President Trump’s mounting tariffs.

Publishers inside and outside China say the release of American books has come to a virtual standstill, cutting them off from a big market of voracious readers.

The Chinese book world is cautiously optimistic that the partial trade truce reached last month between Beijing and Washington will break the logjam.

But they also worry that American books could be targeted in future crackdowns. Under Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, the Communist Party has worked to reduce the influence of foreign media to make room for Chinese books, movies and television shows. Even before the trade war intensified, some say, Chinese regulators were taking a tougher stance on foreign books.

Still, publishing industry insiders describe a near freeze of regulatory approvals, one that could make the publishing industry reluctant to buy the rights to sell American books in China.

American books in particular are widely read. In 2017, Chinese buyers obtained copyrights for over 6,000 American books, accounting for more than one-third of all foreign books claimed, according to data from the National Copyright Administration.

Source: The New York Times