Notice Concerning Printing and Distributing the “Summary of the Work Meeting on Investigating and Prosecuting Criminal Illegal Publishing Activities According to the Law”

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In order to completely implement the State Council “Notice Concerning Strictly Attacking Illegal Publishing Activities”, the General Administration of Press and Publications, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television, and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce held a work meeting in Beijing from 25 until 28 December 1987 on investigating and prosecuting criminal illegal publishing activities according to the law in which a number of relevant leading cadres from provincial-level Press and Publication Bureaus, Courts, Procuratorates, Public Security Offices (bureaus) participated. Hereby, the summary of the meeting is issued to you, please transmit it speedily for implementation, in order to promote the deep development of investigating and prosecuting criminal illegal publishing activities. For the problems of policy and law demarcation touched upon by the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate in the “Summary”, further judicial interpretations shall be made. If there are contradictions between interpretations of the “Summary” and the “Two Supremes”, the interpretation of the “Two Supremes” shall prevail.


In order to completely implement the State Council “Notice Concerning Attacking Illegal Publishing Activities”, further clarify the legal basis and policy demarcation of investigation and prosecution of criminal illegal printing activities, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, General Administration of Press and Publications, Ministry of Radio, Film and Television, State Administration of Industry and Commerce, from 25 until 28 December 1987 held a “Work Meeting on Investigating and Prosecuting Criminal Illegal Publishing Activities According to the Law”, in Beijing, in which relevant leading cadres from Courts, Procuratorates, Public Security Offices (Bureaus), Press and Publications Bureaus from the 10 provinces and municipalities of Liaoning, Shandong, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Hubei, Guangdong, Beijing and Shanghai participated. Relevant entities such as the NPC Standing Committee Legal Work Committee, State Council Secretariat and Central Propaganda Department Publishing Bureau, etc., sent people to attend the meeting. The participating comrades took the basic line decided in the 13th Party Congress as guidance, earnestly studied and researched the State-Council “Provisional Administrative Punishment Regulations for Speculation and Profiteering” and the State Council and Supreme People’s Procuratorate “Notice Concerning Severely Punishing Illegal Printing Activities According to the Law” (hereafter named the Two Supremes “Notice”, exchanged experiences and questions on investigation and prosecution of criminal illegal printing activities, and integrating concrete cases, deeply discussed policy and law demarcations to be paid attention to in investigation and prosecution work; the Public Security and Press and Publications systems’ participating comrades also specially discussed “Provisional Rules on Printing Sector Management “Opinion-seeking Draft”. The Summary is as follows:


I, The Meeting summarized the previous work attacking illegal publishing activities, further deepened the understanding of the importance of investigation and prosecution work. The participating comrades looked back on implementing the spirit of the State Council “Notice Concerning Gravely Attacking Illegal Publishing Activities” in the previous half year, developing the practice of attacking illegal publishing activities, and unanimously think that: the State Council policy decision on launching attacks on illegal publishing activities is correct and timely. The battle results obtained in the previous half-year fully bear out this point. According to incomplete statistics, from July 1987 until the end of October, in the entire country, more than 16130000 illegal books, 4747000 illegal periodicals, 6566000 illegal newspapers, 1510000 illegal audio tapes and 89600 illegal video tapes were tracked town nationwide. Of these, a large part had content inciting sex and violence, of a low artistic style, instigating crime, gravely destroying the socialist publishing undertaking, disordering the socialist culture market, influencing the construction of a spiritual civilization, corrupting the prestige of the revolution and the opening-up policy; especially these illegal publications poisoned social atmosphere, poisoned the masses and especially had a big influence on minors. In recent years, criminals tend to become lower in age, the proportion of youth of 25 years and lower in the total number of criminals is more than 50%. Under young criminals, the proportion of sex crimes and violent crimes is proportionate, of those, not a little are gang crimes resembling underworld societies. The causes of the appearance of this sort of social phenomenon, are manifold, one of the important causes is the poisoning and seduction by illegal publications propagating fighting, murder, sex and obscenity. Because of this, it is fully necessary to conduct strict attack of illegal publishing activities, especially criminal illegal publishing activities. Launching this sort of struggle, is a comprehensive governance work integrating strengthening administrative management, strengthening economic management, strengthening public order management and attacking crimes, it is an important move in using legal methods to manage society and the economy, it is an important step in deepening reform and creating a desirable social environment. The participating comrades pointed out, this campaign attacking illegal publishing activities, was highly regarded by all levels of government, was carried out by relevant entities in coordination, was broadly propagated, has created large impetus, had correct focal points, paid attention to policy, blocked sources and dammed rivers, strengthened management, thereby obtaining marked results in a relatively short time, it has begun to stop short the illegal publishing activities that had been running rampant for a while. But, we must still maintain sober minds, and must clearly understand that: because our country is in the beginning stages of socialism, feudalism and capitalism’s degenerate ideologies will exist for a long time, domestic and foreign antagonistic forces and hostile elements regarding with hostility and destroying our country’s Socialist system will exist for a long time; under the new circumstances of reform, opening up, and invigoration, there is bound to be a number of people by hook or by crook studying the loopholes where our legal system is not complete, using illegal publishing activities to seek large and quick profits, even conducting sabotage activities. Because of this, we must make investigating and prosecuting criminal illegal publishing activities into a long-term duty, strengthen communication, build mutual support, operate jointly, repulse the frontal assault of criminal illegal printing activities emerging at any time, in order to safeguard and promote the construction of the Four Modernizations, making reform and opening up be able to progress successfully.


II, The Meeting stressed strengthening regular management work, progressively making publishing management work legalized and systematized.

The participating comrades pointed out, in order to relatively thoroughly curb illegal printing activities, we must counter problems existing in all publishing activity (including editing, printing, distribution and sales) segments, try to find out management systems conforming to objective laws, both take stop-gap measures and go to the root; both stopping leaks, and benefit the vigour of reform, making management work progressively march along legalized and systematized tracks, promoting our country’s publishing undertakings to enter a healthy and vigorous development phase. The top priority in publishing management work is strengthening management over the printing sector, in order to block the source of illegal publications. To this end, the Meeting conducted discussion over the “Provisional Rules on Printing Sector Management “Opinion-seeking Draft” jointly drafted by entities such as the State Economic Commission, the General Administration of Press and Publications, the Ministry of Public Security, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Light Industry, etc., put forward opinions for revision, hoping for a speedy promulgation and implementation.


III, The Meeting thinks that the State Council “Provisional Administrative Punishment Regulation on Speculation and Profiteering” and the Two Supreme’s “Notice” have provided a clear legal basis for investigation and prosecution of illegal printing activities.

Through earnestly studying these two legal documents, the participating comrades unanimously think that: these two legal documents’ promulgation has provided a legal basis for investigation and prosecution of illegal printing activities, indicating a large step in our country’s publishing management undertaking in strengthening legal system construction advancement.

Everyone analyzing these two legal documents’ content said: the provisions of the first paragraph in the Two Supremes’ “Notice” clarified the legal basis for investigating and prosecuting general criminal illegal printing activities, namely that all engagement in publishing, printing, distribution and sales of illegal publications with the aim of making quick and huge profits, where circumstances are grave, shall be punished as the crime of speculation and profiteering; the provisions of the second paragraph in the Two Supremes’ “Notice”, clarified that when investigating and prosecuting special illegal publication activities, where illegal business or illegal income volumes are huge or circumstances are grave, they shall be punished as the crime of speculation and profiteering. Furthermore, the Provisional Administrative Punishment Regulations on Speculation and Profiteering” listed “activities of printing, selling or disseminating illegal publications (including audiovisual publications”, obtaining illegal profit” in the speculation and profiteering activities to be punished administratively, thus providing a legal basis for investigating and prosecution general illegal printing activities not constituting a crime. If it is said that, previously, attacking illegal publishing activities lacked strength because before, legal provisions were not clear enough, then, when from now on it appears that attacking lacks strength, it is a problem in our work.


IV, The Meeting made relatively clear understanding of several important policy and legal demarcation problems presently facing investigation and prosecution of criminal illegal printing activities.

The participating comrades through deeply discussing the present problems existing in investigation and prosecution work, have made relatively clear understanding of several important policy and legal definition problems that should be resolved.

1. Concerning the meaning of “illegal publication”. Thee State Council “Notice Concerning Strictly Attacking Illegal Publishing Activities” has clearly provided a definition of illegal publication: all newspapers, periodicals, books, audio tapes, video tapes, etc., not printed by a State-approved publishing work unit and openly distributed on the market, are illegal publications. Material-type books, newspapers and audiovisual publications, printed or recorded by publishing work units for internal use, must be reported for approval with the controlling work unit, and be checked and approved by the county-level or higher (including county-level) Press and Publications (Culture) administrative organ or the provincial-level or higher (including provincial-level) audiovisual management organ, and issued with a printing approval certificate, and may only then be printed; otherwise, the printed publication shall also be considered as an illegal publication.

The above provisions differentiate the definition of lawful and unlawful, taking whether or not the publication itself has obtained relevant State entity permission as basis. According to the provisions of relevant administrative regulations, only publishing work units approved for registration by State publications management entities, being registered with the administrative industry and commerce management entity of their locality and having obtained a business licence, are lawful publishing work units. All publications printed by non-lawful publishing work units and openly distributed, are illegal publications.


This sort of illegal publication mainly has the following forms:

publications printed, falsely using the name of a publishing work unit, which simply does not exist;

publications printed, misappropriating the name of a State-approved publishing work unit;

publications pirating lawful publications and being openly distributed and sold to society;

publications being openly distributed to society, not being signed by a publishing work unit or signed by non-publishing work unit;

publications of which the printer, with the aim of seeking illegal profit, made unauthorized added production runs;

publications of which personnel of publishing work units ordered to be disbanded, made unauthorized reprints or published it under the name of the original editorial department;

publications printed by other non-publishing work units and openly distributed to society.

Apart from the abovementioned illegal publications, publications with obscene and reactionary content are also illegal publications; publications having illegal or reactionary content, even if published by State-approved publishing work units, shall also be considered as illegal publications.

2. Concerning the present investigation and prosecution focus targets. The participating comrades think that, the present investigation and prosecution of illegal printing activities, shall focus on investigating and prosecuting the following kinds of criminal:

criminals who, with the aim of quick and large profit, engage in production, selling or dissemination of obscene publications;

criminals who, with the aim of quick and large profits, in large quantities publish, print, distribute or sell illegal publications illegal publications with obscene or reactionary content;

criminals who have engaging in illegal publishing activities as main occupation, where the illegally obtained income volume is huge;

ringleaders of illegal printing activities groups;

criminals engaging in illegal printing activities who are impenitent, especially those that have been punished in the past and have not repented and reformed, and continuously do illegal printing activities.

The participating comrades stress, in investigation and prosecution work, it is certainly necessary to fully pay attention to the definitions differentiating between lawful and unlawful, criminal and non-criminal: those prosecuted for criminal liability, must be activities having harm to society, constituting a crime, that should be subject to criminal punishment. Furthermore, to judge whether or not the fundamental norm for social harmfulness is met, it should be considered wither or not it is beneficial for developing productivity, whether or not it benefits the construction of socialist spiritual civilization.

These illegal printing activities with relatively light circumstances, of which the harm is not large, in principle are not dealt with criminally; where fresh things emerging in reform, it is necessary to protect and foster them. In short, it is necessary to persist in the principle of “taking reality as basis, taking law as criterion”, strictly handle matters according to the law, pay attention to grasping policy definitions, being strict where strictness is called for, being relaxed where relaxedness is called form “seek truth from facts, extend differentiated treatment, in order to reach the objective of attacking the small number of grave lawbreakers, and educate the large masses”.

3. Concerning the question of how to determine “grave circumstances” in criminal illegal publishing cases investigated and prosecuted under the crime speculation and profiteering. The participating comrades think that, for determining “grave circumstances”, a relatively large illegal business volume or illegal profit volume shall be taken as beginning point, and consideration of other grave circumstances is integrated. Because some illegal printing activities themselves have characteristics such as not paying remuneration, printing amounts are large, profits are high, etc., if the provisions on “amount” in the Two Supremes’ “Reply to Present Handling of Some Questions Concerning Concretely Applicable Law in Economic Crime Cases (Trial)” completely would apply in illegal publishing criminal cases, it would not be appropriate. But, at present, relatively few judicial organs handle this sort of cases, the illegal printing activities situation is also relatively complex, for putting forward a relatively appropriate punishment measurement amount standards, conditions are not mature enough, it is necessary to sum up the experience of judicial practice. At present, all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities may according to the amounts provided by the Two Supremes in 1985, according to the real situation in that locality, stipulate amount standards for grasp in that locality. At the same time, other grave circumstances must be integrated and given consideration. Other grave circumstances mainly are: the poison in illegal publication content is large, harmfulness is large; long-time engaging or repeatedly committing illegal publishing activities; not repenting and reforming after administrative punishment; using official powers to commit illegal printing activities, illegal publications already being distributed to society, etc.

4. Concerning the question of appraising illegal publications. The participating comrades unanimously agree that judicial authorities shall entrust local provincial, autonomous region and municipal publications controlling authorities organize personnel having expert knowledge and a certain political calibre to conduct appraisal of illegal publications, especially obscene publications. For publication appraisal must be conducted by three or more people appointed by the publications controlling authority and invited by judicial organs; after appraisal, an appraisal letter shall be written; the appraisers and work units of which appraisers have been appointed shall sign their names or stamp their seal on the appraisal letter; the appraisal letter shall relatively concretely describe the basis for the appraisal conclusion. When there are disputes or differences over the appraisal conclusion, where it concerns books and periodicals, it shall be submitted to the General Administration of Press and Publications for organization of expert review, where it concerns audiovisuals, it shall be submitted to the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television for organization of expert review. Standards for appraising obscene publications are the relevant provisions of the “Regulations Concerning Prohibition of Obscene Products”, promulgated by the State Council in April 1985.

5. Concerning how to treat cases already dealt with. Cases already handled before issuance of the Two Supremes’ “Notice” are generally not changed, but the following small amount of cases must be dealt with again: cases where illegal income or illegal business volumes are especially huge, and the original sentence is overly light; cases where criminal circumstances are vile, and the original sentence is overly light; cases which should be punished severely according to the law, but where only administrative punishment was imposed; cases of failure to repent and reform after administrative punishment, and continuing to engage in illegal printing activities or other criminal activities.

6. Concerning the question of evidence. When investigating and prosecuting criminal illegal publishing cases, it is necessary to lay emphasis on evidence, lay emphasis on investigation and research, and not delivering thoughtless testimonies; it is necessary to make strong evidence, for illegal business or illegal income amounts, there must be irrefutable evidence, with correct calculations, calculations cannot be rough.

7. Concerning the question of how to deal with State organs and enterprise work units engaging in illegal printing activities. The participating comrades reflect, at present, when investigating illegal printing activities in State organs and enterprise work units, obstruction is large, and they are difficult to handle. The participating comrades think that, when handling this sort of cases, it is certainly necessary to persist in the principle of “everyone is equal before the law”, being upright and not given to flattery, justly and impartially enforcing the law, strictly handle cases according to the relevant provisions in the Two Supremes’ “Reply to Present Handling of Some Questions Concerning Concretely Applicable Law in Economic Crime Cases (Trial)” ; namely: State organs and enterprise work units conducting illegal publishing activities, where that work unit seeks improper benefit, are generally dealt with by administrative industry and commerce management organs according to industry and commerce regulations; for those where controlling personnel and directly-responsible persons in charge embezzle public funds, where circumstances are grave and it constitutes a crime, criminal liability shall be prosecuted according to the law; abovementioned work units conducting illegal printing activities, where the amounts are especially huge, or large losses are created for the State, the controlling personnel and directly responsible persons in charge shall also be prosecuted for criminal liability. The participating comrades stress, investigating and prosecuting criminal illegal printing activities is a pressing task, and moreover is a work with a strong policy nature. All relevant entities, after the meeting, shall further strengthen communication, interflow situations, give mutual support, coordinate campaigns, and may not mutually shift responsibility, and may also not exceed their authority by handling cases that fall not within their purview. Management organs such as Press and Publications, Radio, Film and Television, Culture, etc., must jointly with entities such as Public Security, Industry and Commerce, etc., realistically strengthen management over all links of publishing activities; administrative industry and commerce entities must speedily thoroughly investigate illegal and unlawful publishing activities, and make administrative punishments according to the law; concerning illegal printing activities, especially criminal production activities of obscene publications, public security entities must speedily file cases, crack cases, transfer cases to the procuratorial organs; procuratorates and courts, after accepting cases, shall punish grave illegal publishing criminals according to the law. The Meeting hopes that all localities catch some model cases, especially major and important cases, and speedily thoroughly investigate and handle them, broadly propagate them, in order to promote investigation and prosecution of criminal illegal printing activities work’s deep development.






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