Science fiction magazine to be shut for pirating stories

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 12:00am

Beijing is to close down a popular magazine that illegally republished material from a mainland science fiction periodical.

This is the country's first move to protect copyright of science fiction literature, which ideologues once criticised as 'spiritual pollution'.

Hebei-based Popular Literature is to be shut down because it published stories and photos from Science Fiction World, Xinhua says.

Liu Bo, of the State Press and Publications Administration, said copyright of science fiction should be protected though it was once branded as 'taboo reading'.

Science fiction has been controversial in communist China.

'In the 1980s, it was regarded as 'spiritual pollution' and 'pseudo-science' and was banned, while science fiction writers were looked down upon by others,' Mr Liu said.

State propaganda machines once criticised some science fiction stories, saying their gloomy predictions of the future 'could lead to chaos and social instability'.

Science fiction staged a comeback in the mid-1990s, when it was decided 'science and man's imagination are vital for the nation's creativity and competitiveness'.

It gained official recognition when President Jiang Zemin called for 'rejuvenation of the country through science and technology' three years ago.

Science Fiction World is a winner of the World's Best Sci-fi Magazine award issued by the World Sci-fi Organisation.

Xinhua quoted science fiction writer Zheng Jun as saying the action against Popular Literature showed China was becoming more modern.