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China Cracks down on Illegal Foreign Publications

China's publishing authority has warned it will crack down on illegal foreign publications "to prevent disruption to the publishing market and a negative impact on the people".

A spokesman from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) said that unlicensed journalists had been publishing illegally after misleading low-ranking officials with the serial number of a foreign publication registered overseas.

Under Chinese publishing regulations, foreign publications must be licensed by the state council, or the central government. Foreign publishers, news agencies or editing offices that engage in unlicensed publishing, printing and distribution are considered illegal.

Among the illegal foreign publications shut down this year are the Baoding-based China Art Circle newspaper in the northern Hebei Province and China News, whose reporters engaged in “illegal activities" in Jianhu County, east China's Jiangsu Province

Heilongjiang publication department on March 16 closed the office of China Business, a newspaper claiming to be based in Hong Kong. The department confiscated a large amount of newspapers and press cards issued by China International Reporters Association (CIRA).

An investigation found that the CIRA was an illegal organization and was not registered with civil affairs departments. The press cards issued by the CIRA looked similar to those issued by the GAPP. The CIRA website -- www.cira.com.cn -- resembled that of the GAPP in layout and carried documents and notices issued by the GAPP.

Its "press card authentication system" recognized authorized press cards as "fake", which severely disrupted normal press card management.

The spokesman said that the use of foreign publication numbers to publish in China was illegal and offenders would be prosecuted.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2006)

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