Pirate CDs back on Peking streets

Two months after China signed a wide-ranging copyright protection pact with the United States, pirated CDs and CD-roms are again easily available on Peking's street corners. Nervous hawkers have reappeared catering for all tastes with a selection of CD-rom computer software from Voyeur to Desk-top Publisher, as well as a stack of popular music CDs.

The only obvious concession to the crackdown by the authorities supposedly under way is that the discs now come in paper sleeves and transparent envelopes. The plastic containers are too bulky for selling from inside coat pockets.

In the weeks after the intellectual property rights agreement on 26 February, which averted a trade war, pirated discs were harder to find. At the beginning of March the official media reported many raids on retailers and factory closures, and disc salesmen were lying low.

Now the channels of supply are opening again. Microsoft's Encarta '95 multimedia encyclopedia on CD-rom could be picked up easily this week for less than £4; other discs included computer games, Excel and Word computer software. One salesman, who operates outside the Friendship Store, said: "Last week it was a bit looser, so they managed to get in a lot of discs from Guangdong province. Since the crackdown, the big pirating factories are closed, but still some smaller factories make copies."

Under the Sino-US agreement, a six-month "special enforcement period" started on 1 March, including investigation of all suspected CD, laser disc, and CD-rom factories.

The hawkers by Peking's silk alley market are now more wary, leading prospective customers off the main street into courtyards before displaying dozens of discs secreted inside their jackets. But they said discs were still arriving from Guangdong, in the south of China, changing hands several times before reaching the street.

"Around May Day there will be police everywhere because it's a public holiday, so we won't come out," said the man outside the Friendship Store. But the trade was always risky. "You have to move around."

One 12-year-old boy, his father sitting 10 yards away keeping watch, had about 10 rock CDs on offer. "If you want something else, you can come back in about two hours," he said. "I've got some other people around."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'