Chinese law enforcement agencies confiscated 49 million illegal books, periodicals and audio-visual products in the first four months of this year in a nationwide crackdown on unsuitable materials, the National Office for Cleaning Up Pornography and Fighting Illegal Publications announced on Tuesday, with pirated products accounting for close to 90 percent of the total haul.
The office provided a precise breakdown with 1.69 million pornographic publications, 1.06 million illegal newspapers and magazines, and 2.96 million smuggled discs uncovered. Furthermore, purveyors of such materials were also punished with 13,000 shops and booths, 364 printing factories and 97 websites being closed down for illegal operations. A further 17,000 shops, 1,825 printing factories and 2,123 websites were fined.
Law enforcement departments across the country completed investigations into 8,954 cases involving the production, sale and distribution of illegal publications which resulted in 214 criminal cases and 165 people being convicted.
Liu Binjie, head of the office, announced the beginning of a summer campaign against illegal publications and called for law enforcement bodies to clamp down on IPR violations, by using new Supreme Court rulings on the issue to their full advantage.
China's top court recently lit a fire under criminals engaged in piracy by lowering the threshold under which to prosecute manufacturers or sellers of counterfeit products.
The new interpretation issued in April states that anyone found to have produced 500 or more counterfeit copies (discs) of computer software, music, movies, TV series and other audio-video products faces imprisonment of up to seven years. Fines were also raised, ranging from one to 15 times the illegal earnings, or from 50 to 200 percent of the business turnover.
Liu, who is also head of the General Administration of Press and Publications, said the crackdown would see more efforts at getting rid of street vendors, flogging pirated, illegal and pornographic books, CDs and DVDs.
(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2007)