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Beijing Publisher to Ignore Beijing's Ban of Its Horror Story
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A Beijing-based publisher says it will defy a municipal government ban on its horror tale and continue to ship copies of Death Note, one of eight books the city has ordered off the shelves.

The Beijing municipal government blacklisted the horror stories calling them "illegal terrifying publications".

Hualing Publishing House says Death Note is not an illegal publication. "I want to make it clear that we have official approval to publish and we will continue to do so," a man with the publishing house who declined to give his name told Xinhua over the phone.

Described by some readers as "exciting and interesting", the books, which are mainly about ghosts, have a lot of followers on the Internet. The municipal administration of industry and commerce, however, says many young people are reading the books which it claims are "harmful to the psychological health of teenagers".

The administration, which has been ordered to confiscate the publications, has sent teams to hunt down the books in bookstores and street vendors.

"We have received notice from a higher department to check the sales of books and book stores near schools are the main targets, "said an official with administration's publicity office who also refused to give his name.

"Citizens are also welcome to report to us if they find the books," he said, adding the administration has so far confiscated more than 500 copies.

The municipal government has received numerous complains from parents and educators who says students are spending too munch time reading the horror stories and not enough time studying, said the official.

"The books are not suitable for young students. Death Note for example, elaborates on different scaring ways of dieing -- it will even make adults feel uneasy, let alone children who are still psychologically immature," he said.

Hualing Publishing House, which distributes Death Note nationwide, saying the book is not specifically designed for young readers. The publisher's spokesperson said he doubts the scary stories will cause psychological damage to readers and that people should have the right to choose to read the book or not.

Repeated calls to the Beijing city government office responsible for issuing the ban went unanswered on Tuesday.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2007)

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