China Banned 79 Newspapers in ’05


(AP) Chinese authorities banned 79 newspapers and seized 169 million publications deemed illegal in a crackdown last year, the country’s top propaganda official announced.

Seventeen production lines making pirate compact discs were also shut down and 50 types of computer software games banned, China’s Xinhua News Agency quoted Liu Yunshan saying at a conference Tuesday.

Officials must “severely crack down on illegal publications, purify the cultural market, effectively curb various kinds of piracy and strengthen intellectual property right protection,” Liu was quoted saying.

Xinhua didn’t name any of the banned publications but said the crackdown’s targets included pornography and intellectual product piracy.

Although pirating discs is rampant and pornography is easily available, China maintains an iron grip on publications and routinely punishes or closes newspapers and Web sites that discuss sensitive political or social issues.

“Through such work, we have frightened piracy activities and established a good image for the Chinese government in intellectual property right protection,” Liu, head of the governing Communist party’s Publicity Department was quoted saying.

Xinhua said punishments had been handed out in some cases but gave no specifics.

In the heaviest reported sentence for online obscenity, a 20-year-old Web site operator in eastern China was jailed in 2004 for 15 years for selling downloads of sexually oriented movies.

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