July 14, 2008 / 4:03 AM / 9 years ago

No pirate paradise for Games visitors vows China

<p>A member of the staff of the city administration department walks past a stall selling pirated DVDs in Hefei, east China's Anhui province November 26, 2007.Jianan Yu</p>

BEIJING (Reuters) - Visitors to Beijing's Olympic Games hoping to snap up cheap pirate copies of hit movies and music will be disappointed, Chinese authorities say, announcing a round-the-clock drive to stamp out bootleg sellers.

China has for years faced complaints from Western companies and politicians that it does not fight hard enough against a huge blackmarket of counterfeit DVDs, music discs and software. Washington has launched action at the World Trade Organization over the issue.

But at least during the Beijing Olympics in August, officials will be working extra hard to keep cheap copies of Hollywood hits off the streets, the official China Press and Publishing Journal reported on Monday.

Anti-piracy and pornography officials have announced a "hundred-day operation against pirate copies", the paper said.

"Strike hard against all kinds of pirate copies violating rights and against illegal publishing activities," said the notice launching the drive. "Go all out to create a healthy cultural market environment for the Beijing Olympic Games."

In the Chinese capital and other cities hosting Games events, officials will be on call 24 hours a day to catch pirate sellers, the report said.

Sweeping checks on shops, hotels and streetsides have already dampened the usually brisk business in cheap movies and music -- selling for a couple of dollars or so -- that quite a few foreign tourists buy by the bagful.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to Beijing" here; and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china

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