French "rock star" economist Thomas Piketty said Monday his latest book would probably not be released in China after the publisher demanded too many cuts.
His "Capital and Ideology" surveys the rapid rise of inequality around the world and includes attacks on the "plutocracy" of the Chinese regime, which he says has overtaken Western countries.
"In short, they want to remove all references to contemporary China, and in particular to inequality and transparency in China. I have refused these conditions, and indicated that I will only accept a full translation without any kind of cut," Piketty told AFP by email.
His 2013 book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" made him a global star in his field and sold hundreds of thousands of copies in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has used his research on rising inequality in the United States and Europe as proof of the superiority of the Chinese communist model.
"The other Chinese publishing houses in contact with my French publisher have indicated that they would also demand cuts, so at this stage it is likely that this book will not be published in mainland China," Piketty said, confirming an earlier report in the South China Morning Post.
- 'Allies of hypercapitalism' -
The offending references feature in a chapter dealing with communist and post-communist societies, during which the economist attacks the "oligarchic and kleptocratic drift" of Russia and the "plutocracy" of China.
"In the late 2010s, China... is only slightly less inegalitarian than the United States and significantly more so than Europe, whereas it was the most egalitarian of the three regions at the beginning of the 1980s," Piketty wrote in a passage he said was taken out by the Chinese publisher.
In another excised passage, he wrote that Russia, China and some Eastern European countries had become the "staunchest allies" of "hypercapitalism".
"This is a direct consequence of the disasters of Stalinism and Maoism and the consequent rejection of all egalitarian internationalist ambitions," he wrote.
Piketty's Chinese publisher Citic Press did not comment directly on his claims but told AFP the copyright of "Capital and Ideology" was still being negotiated.