Thu, Jul 17, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Groups concerned about pornography in local comic books

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the ROC Publications Appraisal Foundation and the Chinese Children Education Development Association display pornographic comic books yesterday. The foundation says almost 99 percent of comic-book rental shops in major cities sell such comics.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Two groups yesterday urged the government to crack down on stores that rent comic books, saying that a survey they conducted showed that a vast majority of them allowed youngsters access to pornographic material.

The ROC Publications Appraisal Foundation and the Chinese Children Education Development Association said that 89 percent of the 160 stores in Taipei and Kaohsiung that they surveyed displayed and rented pornographic comic books.

They said 98 percent displayed "restricted" publications that were suitable only for readers aged 18 and over.

"The sexual, violent and obscene content of comic books and fiction books is increasing and becoming more exaggerated," said Hsu Wen-pin (許文彬), director of the foundation. "Almost every book rental store displays such publications overtly."

Yu Ying-fu (尤英夫), an attorney at the Century International Law Office, said Article 27 of the Children and Juveniles Welfare Law (兒童及少年福利法), which was passed by the Legislative Yuan on May 2, regulates that publications should be classified and graded.

Those who violate the law could be fined up to NT$500,000 and their businesses closed for up to one year.

"But the law will not be implemented until August as the administrative details have yet to be resolved, " Hsu said.

During the summer vacation, about 68 percent of teenagers read comic books and novels in their spare time, the foundation said.

Hsu said although some comics are marked "restricted," some of them are actually pornography.

"We hope that the idea of grading and classifying books can be implemented soon," said Yang Shou-Jung, dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Soochow University.

"By doing so we can not only protect children and teenagers but also protect the freedom of writers. For the time being we can only rely on the police to crack down on this kind of illegal pornography."

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