The Wikipedia article on Green Eggs and Ham states that the children's book was banned in China in 1965 for its "portrayal of early Marxism", and that the ban was lifted in 1991. The citations for this are a clickbait article and a New York Public Library blog post.

Is there documentary evidence that this ban actually existed? If so, what was the rationale? I don't understand what the book has to do with early Marxism.

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    I think this might be better on Skeptics. Jul 11, 2016 at 7:02
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    The cultural revolution took Communist paranoia about western influences to hysterical heights. There would need to be a positive ideological reason for permitting the book to be published.
    – Ne Mo
    Jul 11, 2016 at 8:40

1 Answer 1


The ban is believable, if you consider it a ban on the man, rather than the book. It was lifted in 1991 when Seuss died. It was imposed in 1965 on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, when China sought to root out "outdated" views and influences. And it fits the pattern of China.

Throughout Seuss' work, there is a mocking, anti-authoritarian tone. It is this, that troubles a country like China; the bit about "early Marxism" is just a code word for "the party line."

So how did Seuss get on the wrong side of the Chinese? Articles like this one describe how. What would bother the Chinese is a story about how two children took out their grievances with their mother on a cat. Or how "Sam-I-am" was anything but a "yes man" in the Chinese mold.

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    I'm pretty sure I've read somewhere a description of Geissel's relations with international socialism. However, that article isn't it. If anything, the Chinese are more likely to get ticked at the author, who apparently has nothing more productive to do for society than overanalyze children's books. If they aren't ticked at him, I certainly am.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 11, 2016 at 18:03
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    @T.E.D.: I wasn't talking about "socialism." I (and the linked article) was talking about a story about how the children took out their grievances with their mother on the cat. The Chinese are against "aggression" (including passive-aggressive) in any form. Thank you for your interest.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 11, 2016 at 18:06
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    Ah. Did not make that leap at all.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 11, 2016 at 18:47
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    Lots of internet sites repeat that Dr. Seuss' book was banned in China. What I find suspicious is that most of those sites explain (explain?! talk of a misuse of the word!) that the reason of the ban was a "protrait of early Marxism", but not one of them can explain what the diyu is a "portrait of early Marxism" or why would a self-proclaimed Marxist government ban something for "portraying early Marxism". At least a bad case of googleslating seems to be implied here, perhaps together with a healthy dose of acritical repetion of hearsay... Jul 22, 2016 at 18:36

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