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Nation to Launch Anti-piracy Crackdown
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Vendors and retailers who sell pirated DVDs, compact discs and software will soon face tougher scrutiny under a new crackdown effort by the government.

Six ministries have joined hands to go after the sale and production of illegal CDs, DVDs, software and books on the streets and elsewhere.

In a circular issued by the country's Anti-Pornography and Anti-Piracy Office on Thursday, the plan calls for stronger efforts against street vendors and unlicensed wholesalers involved in illegal publication businesses.

"Fundamental changes must be made within this year in large and middle-sized cities," the circular said. Anti-pornography and anti-piracy offices will need to coordinate their efforts.

Construction departments, for example, will monitor the streets and sidewalks. The department may also consider the number of vendors on the street in assessing the quality of those streets during the review process.

Cultural departments will monitor audio and video production businesses while press and publication departments will continue to supervise and check for violations at print, copy and distribution outlets.

Meanwhile, industrial and commerce departments will confiscate publication and production equipment and facilities. In addition, public security departments will cooperate with specific departments and launch investigations.

In Shanghai, patrol and law enforcement officials said they intend to use their three daily shifts to enforce the crackdown initiative. They also plan to beef up manpower during off-work hours when vendors are most visible.

One official told the China News Service that confiscating illegal products from street vendors "has been our long-term aim" and added that staff were already overloaded with such work.

Statistics show that in the first four months of 2007, China seized 48.99 million illegal publications including 1.69 million porn products, 1.06 million illegal newspapers and periodicals and 2.96 million smuggled CDs.

In addition, the country also investigated 8,954 cases during that period and imposed some type of criminal punishment against 165 people.

The efforts seem to be taking effect.

"I don't see so many pirated CD and DVD vendors now," said Liu Meiyu, a university student with Tsinghua University.

(China Daily May 26, 2007)

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