Conservative ideologues in Beijing are taking on their opponents through the legal system by suing writers of the book Cross Swords. Duan Ruofei, editor-in-chief of the leftist magazine Contemporary Trend of Thought, has taken action over an alleged copyright violation, saying the book included an article which first appeared in his publication. Cross Swords, published in March as the National People's Congress annual session was being held in Beijing, exposed a series of heated debates among leaders and senior cadres on market reforms and privatisation. The book, written by two People's Daily journalists, included four 10,000-character letters circulated by leftists among senior cadres over the past two years. The letters attack the deep penetration of negative Western influence, 'bourgeois liberalisation' and rampant corruption, which the conservative camp says are caused by market reforms. Mr Duan claimed his magazine owned the copyright of an article, known as the third 10,000-character letter. The Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court is dealing with the case. Beijing intellectual circles said the action showed remnant Maoists 'had declared war' on the liberal reformists. 'Their ultimate purpose is to ban the book which is seen as a parameter of the political climate in the country,' a source said. More than 600,000 copies of the book were said to have been sold. It had proved popular among cadres and university students. Despite efforts by conservatives inside and outside the administration to ban the book, it was still available in shops. The book is said to have won the support of reform-minded leaders, such as Li Tieying, Wan Li, Wang Daohan and former NPC chairman Qiao Shi. Liu Ji, a trusted aide of President Jiang Zemin and vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is listed as an adviser for the book. Another leftist magazine, Mainstay, attacked the book in an article last month.