China’s ‘most beautiful’ library ordered to shut over claims it provided pirated material and obscene content

Lakeside attraction ordered to close after on-the-spot inspection conducted following complaints from readers about content on offer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 1:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 2:21pm

A library once selected as China’s most beautiful has been shut down by the authorities for allegedly providing pirated books and erotic content, local media has reported.

Readers have complained recently online that the collection in Liyuan Bookhouse in suburban Beijing largely consisted of pirated books, which included printing errors, incomplete translations, forged publisher details and “uncensored and elaborated erotic descriptions”.

Images of some of the allegedly explicit material were shared online.

The National Office Against Pornography and Illegal Publications ordered the library to suspend business temporarily on Tuesday after sending a team of law enforcement officials to conduct an on-the-spot inspection, The Beijing News reported.

The inspectors also took away samples of the alleged pirated books, the report said.

The Liyuan Bookhouse, sited alongside a forest and a lake, has won plaudits for its eco-friendly design, use of natural materials and light, as well as its cosy interior space.

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In 2015 the US magazine Business Insider ranked it as number eight in a list of 18 libraries around the world that all book lovers should visit.

It was the only one in China listed and later became a popular tourist attraction.

Located about 80km north of the city centre in Huairou district, the library was established in 2011 as a charitable project for local villagers.

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Liyuan’s sole librarian Pan Xi, who works part-time, told on Wednesday that 70 per cent of its collection came from public donations.

In a statement published on the website, Pan apologised to readers and promised to clean out the collection before reopening next spring.