'Death Note' days numbered

By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-26 06:44

China is trying to weed out illegal Death Note-style notebooks and scary magazines based on popular Japanese stories, officials said on Friday.

Market supervision employees in major cities have also found Death Note references in cartoon series, notebooks, animations, online video games and chat rooms.

The products, which originated from a Japanese cartoon series, have gained popularity among students in China with new assorted versions.

It has aroused the curiosity and attention of children who often inscribe them with the names of disliked teachers and classmates because one of the original stories states: "The human whose name is written in this note should die."

Death Note publications were found in several cities and provinces including Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities. They were also recovered in Jiangsu, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

Death Note "misleads innocent children and distorts their mind and spirit," said Wang Song, an official with the market supervision sector under the National Anti-piracy and Anti-pornography Working Committee.

He made the remarks during a briefing to highlight a national campaign to crack down on the horror-oriented publications. The crackdown is needed to create a healthy school environment especially before International Children's Day on June 1, he said.

"All are illegal publications. So far, none of the legal publication houses in China has introduced the legal and original copy from Japanall that's appeared in the market are distorted and illegal ones," said Wang.

Li Baozhong, director of publications market supervision and administration bureau under the General Administration of Press and Publication, said this call for a crackdown comes after two efforts on April 9 and April 28.

Industrial and commercial bureaus at all levels in effected areas have been involved in the national campaign.

As of May 10, about 2,400 books and nearly 400 discs of Death Note have been collected.

(China Daily 05/26/2007 page3)

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