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China cracks down on piracy of home study books
( 2003-11-03 22:33) (Xinhua)

China's Ministry of Education announced here Monday a plan to join with publishers to crack down on the piracy of reference books used for home and correspondence study.

With a relatively low college enrollment, the tests are one way China uses to encourage people to study by themselves to obtain higher education diplomas. Exams are held twice a year to test applicants, who are then conferred diplomas if successful.

Statistics show that about 5.51 million Chinese have so far obtained diplomas through the tests.

While offering thousands of people chances to finish higher education, the system also triggered a huge market demand for reference books necessary for people to study by themselves and pass the test.

Li Peng, deputy head of the testing center under the Ministry of Education, said the reference books were published by 31 authorized domestic publishing houses so that the quality of the books could be monitored.

"But attracted by commercial interests, many people took the risk of pirating or illegally selling pirated books," he said. " The piracy is so rampant that pirated books take up almost one third of the market, worth over 100 million yuan (12 million US dollars) in sales each year."

To curb the growing tendency of pirating activities, Li said that an inter-department team was established early this year and the campaign against piracy has been intensified across the nation.

"We have seized a large number of pirated books in provinces including Shandong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Hubei during the past several months and the pirating activities in some places were reduced greatly," he said.

Li went on to say that the team will go on with their work until "the pirated books are totally cleared out of the market."

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