One of the most popular contemporary writers in China suffers heavily from
Jia Pingwa has collected some 60 versions of pirate copies of his novel The
Ruined Capital (Fei Du), published in 1993.
He collected them at book-signing promotions in Beijing, Xi'an and Chengdu.
He said experts estimated the total number of illegal copies of the novel to
exceed 10 million.
For his latest work Qin Qiang, published in 2005, Jia has found seven
versions of illegal copies in Xi'an, the city where he lives.
"I have found pirate copies of every book of mine," Jia, who is attending the
CPPCC as a member of the Literary and Arts Circle, said.
"They not only infringed my copyright but also harmed
Jia pointed out that among the pirate books there were simple copies of his
published books, newly edited collections of his old works, and some books not
by him but put under his name.
Last year, a writer named Chen Yufu accused Jia of plagiarizing his novel,
Special Case Team No 1 in Jia's Corrupt Official No 1, but the latter proved to
be an illegal publication put out under Jia's name.
"We depend very much on the administrative means to punish piracy, but they
have proved not to be very effective," Jia said.
"I hope the police will get more involved in the crackdown on the source of
The National Copyright Administration (NCA) is China's administrative body
for protecting copyright and preventing piracy. The NCA can confiscate illegal
copies, impose fines, and revoke administrative permits of those who violate the
"In China we have both administrative and legal protection of copyright," Gui
Xiaofeng, former vice-director of the NCA and a member of CPPCC's Journalism and
Publication Circle, said.
"The administrative methods are necessary and suitable to China's social
conditions, as the government has its advantage in fighting piracy, but
administrative means alone are not enough, and more legal actions are needed."
Shen Rengan, chairperson of the board of directors of the Copyright Society
of China, said China had established a relatively complete system of laws to
protect copyright, but the enforcement of those laws still needed to improve.
Also, people's concept of protecting copyright is often not very clear, he
"China is a very big country, and the economic and cultural development of
different areas are not balanced," Shen said.
"This contributed to the difficulty in promoting the concept of copyright."
The Copyright Society of China, where Shen works, is a non-governmental
organization formed by copyright professionals, legal workers and writers to
promote copyright knowledge. The society's activities include publishing the
Chinese Copyright magazine, providing training about copyright protection, and
helping people whose copyrights are infringed to file suits.
"We hope to make a contribution toward copyright protection, but this takes
effort from all sides," Shen said.
(China Daily 03/14/2007 page5)