Beijing bans scary stories to protect young
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Tue May 15, 2007 3:52AM EDT
BEIJING (Reuters Life) - China's capital is seizing ghost and horror books from shops to protect the "physical and mental health" of its youngsters, local media said on Tuesday.
Authorities have been scouring bookstores, newsstands and shops near schools, known for their orthodox and conformist teaching but where youth subcultures have flourished with an increasingly diverse society, the Beijing News said.
"The illegal publications are quite popular among students and are apt to harm the physical and mental health of young people," the newspaper quoted a government circular as saying.
Collections of scary tales have found a frantic readership in China in recent years, especially among students and white-collar workers who find them a ready outlet from stressful lives.
The tales are usually printed by small illegal publishers or circulated on the Internet, often borrowing from a rich pool of classic Chinese ghost stories, giving them up-to-date settings such as elevators or night buses.
Among the blacklisted stories are adaptations of "Death Note", a Japanese manga comic series about a high school student who has a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it, the Beijing News said.
Same sort of thing happened to comic books in the U.S. in the 1950s, although it was de facto rather than de jure.
Don't fret, once people get tired with Harry Potter we'll probably be burning them in the States. It's just that the zealots aren't good with multi-tasking.
If any of you are interested, Strange Stories from a Make-Do Studio by Pu Songling is wonderful and very much for adults. There are many translations (with variations on the title like Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio or Chinese Ghost Stories For Adults) and a recent Penguin edition.