Chinese pirates make fortune on Potter books

Unauthorised Chinese versions of the latest Harry Potter book have been sold in Beijing, three months before the official translation is published. The book has great popularity, notwithstanding uncertainties and paragraphs missing.

A Chinese-character soft-cover version of "The Half Blood Prince," was being sold off a tarp in an underpass in downtown Beijing for 20 yuan ($2.5 ), according to AP.

An unauthorised Chinese version of "Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince" was on sale in Beijing on Sunday just two weeks after the book appeared in English and well ahead of the planned October launch of the Chinese-language edition.

Author JK Rowling's boy wizard Harry Potter is wildly popular in China, where he is known as "Ha-li Bo-te".

Foreign companies say unofficial versions of goods such as books, movies and designer clothes cause them to lose billions of pounds in potential sales in China, BBC reports.

A spokesman for Rowling's London agent, Christopher Little, said it had successfully taken action against Chinese pirates but declined to give further details.

Potter readers have posted their own international translations of the latest book onto fan websites, with thousands of German versions posted fewer than 48 hours after its English-language publication. To avoid threats of legal action, fans pledged not to distribute their translations to any third parties.

On China's Tsinghua university website, a fan writing under the name Woodchuckle was so upset by Rowling's ending that he wrote and posted his own.

The university site administrator said it had deleted several postings which contained illegal electronic versions of the book.

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