Censored: 5 plays and novels banned around the globe

Censorship of the arts has a long history, from ancient Greece to present-day Thailand. US schools regularly add new, and often surprising, books to their lists of banned literature. Here is a list of five plays and novels banned, for a variety of reasons, in regions across the globe:

1. The King Never Smiles

Thailand has some of the strictest laws in the world in terms of criticizing the monarchy, and offenders can be imprisoned for up to 15 years. Thai officials responsible for monitoring defamation of the royal family consider Facebook “likes” of information criticizing the monarchy criminal, according to The Daily Mail.

The 2006 “unauthorized” biography of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej – “The King Never Smiles” by Paul M. Handley – was banned in Thailand, and the website advertising the book was blocked in the country.

Thailand's lese majeste laws are so strict that in 2011, a US citizen visiting Thailand was sentenced to prison for two and a half years for allegedly posting excerpts of “The King Never Smiles” online.  Joe Gordon, a US citizen who was born in Thailand but lived in North America for 30 years, translated part of the banned text into Thai and posted it on his blog. He was arrested five years after publishing the blog post, on a visit to the kingdom of Thailand for medical treatment.

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