Supreme People’s Court Notice Concerning Severely Attacking Criminal Activities Related to Illegal Publications
SPC (1998) No. 4.
All provincial, autonomous region and municipal Higher People’s Courts, Liberation Army Courts Martial:
At present, criminal activities related to illegal publications are still very grave, smuggling from abroad and peddling obscene, reactionary, pirated Video Compact Discs (VCD) is manifold; and within the borders, there are some illegal CD production lines that have not been dug out, illegal audiovisual products reappear again in some areas, obscene and pornographic publications have a tendency to gain ground again; foreign hostile influences use publications channels to engage in and aggravate thought and cultural infiltration, a batch of publications containing serious political issues has entered the territory, is reproduced and by outlaws in some areas; piracy activities of dictionaries, reference books, secondary and primary tuition books and other bestsellers can’t be stopped despite repeated bans. In order to severely attack criminal activities related to illegal publications, purify the cultural environment, safeguard the cultural market order, the following is notified:
1: People’s Courts of all levels must fully recognise the gravity and harmfulness of the present criminal activities related to illegal publications and the necessity to punish this sort of criminals and restrain the spread of criminal activities according to the law. The Courts of all localities, and especially the Courts of the localities where these criminal activities are grave, have to arrange the attack work on this sort of criminal activities on the agenda of the trial work, and when this sort of cases is filed before the Court, must speedily complete investigation, and impose punishment according to the law.
2: The Criminal Law has different provisions dealing with this sort of criminal activities; the Supreme People’s Court is presently paying hurrying the publication of a Judicial Interpretation. The Courts of all localities have to earnestly organize criminal trial cadres to study the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law, and to speedily sentence this sort of criminals according to the law. Towards specific exceptional cases, if it is found that the provisions of the Criminal law are not clear enough when applying the law, it is allowed to gradually ask for instructions, submit a report to the Supreme People’s Court, but it is impossible to not accept and hear a case on the basis of unclarity of the law, and it is also impossible “to wait until after publication of the Judicial Interpretation to deal with it.”
3: Dealing with this sort of criminal activities, the criminals with grave character and loathsome circumstances, and the ringleaders and prime culprits joint crimes of organizing crimes with large destructiveness shall be the emphasis of the attack. Those among them of which the criminal activities are grave, but who are able to inform and expose underground production and sale lairs after they are brought to justice, after verification ore display other significant meritorious service, may be dealt with leniently. Those who only occasionally sell, in small quantities, or of which the criminal acts are ordinary, and admit guilt and submit to the law after being brought to justice, may also be dealt with leniently. But regardless of the gravity of the crime, they all must take the economic sanctions taken against them seriously, and undergo financial punishments, confiscation of property punishments, to deprive criminals of their illegally obtained economic gain.
4: Courts of focal areas must, under the guidance of the local Party Committee, and in close coordination with the relevant entities, timely develop special crack-downs attacking criminal activities relating to illegal publications, and pay attention to using the news media to vigorously propagate the situation of attacking this sort of crimes, in order to frighten the criminals, educate the masses, and effectively contain the clear result of this sort of criminal activity.