Chinese Authorities Ban 19 Newspapers

April 19, 2005

The General Administration of Press and Publication has banned 19 newspapers as part of its ongoing "Sweep Away Pornography and Strike Down Illegal Publications" campaign, according to an article on the People's Daily Web site. The article reports that the publications were closed because they were pirating or fraudulently using the book numbers of other publications. The ban follows the government's closure of 60 news, law, education, and lifestyle publications in November 2004. Provincial governments report destroying tens of thousands of political publications as part of the campaign. The central government reported that it shut down hundreds of publishers and censored hundreds of publications in 2004.

China's law requires that every publication in China have a book number, the distribution of which is controlled by the General Administration of Press and Publication. This requirement is one of several prior restraints the Chinese government employs to ensure that it retains control over all publishing in China. The Chinese government, however, sometimes makes an exception for non-political publications. For example, on April 11, 2005, the Jiangnan Daily reported that the Nanjing monthly cultural magazine "Kaijuan" had been publishing continuously for five years, despite not having an official book number.