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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Fake Harry Potter novel hits China
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Potter has already been hit by video and DVD piracy
Chinese Harry Potter fans have been rushing to buy a new instalment of the hit book series - but it is a fake.

An anonymous Chinese author has decided JK Rowling is taking too long to write the fifth book - so has written a new adventure to satisfy the huge Potter market in the country, according to a report in The Times.


Harry doesn't know how long it will take to wash the sticky cream cake off his face

Opening line of Harry Potter And Leopard Walk Up To Dragon
Harry Potter And Leopard Walk Up To Dragon, on sale in Beijing street markets for about 1, is selling fast to the dismay of the publisher of the genuine Potter books in China.

Neil Blair, of the Christopher Little Literary Agency which represents Ms Rowling, told The Times: "As with all piracy matters throughout the world, we take this issue extremely seriously and are looking into the matter urgently."

Radical departure

The People's Publishing House, which has the Potter publishing rights in China, said the writer of the pirate novel had also used the names of its translators and editors - as well as a photograph of JK Rowling.

But the new Harry plot is a radical departure from anything in the genuine Rowling books to date.

Drenched by a mysterious rain, Potter is transformed into a fat, hairy dwarf and stripped of his magic powers as he battles the forces of evil in the shape of a dragon, reports The Times.

Kenneth Branagh in  the second Harry Potter film
Kenneth Branagh is to appear in the second Harry Potter film
Characters from the real Potter books have been resurrected and new ones invented to populate a plot that is reportedly evocative of Hobbit author JRR Tolkien.

The book begins with the lines: "Harry doesn't know how long it will take to wash the sticky cream cake off his face.

"For a civilised young man it is disgusting to have dirt on any part of his body. He lies in the high-quality china bathtub, keeps wiping his face, and thinks about Dali's face, which is as fat as the bottom of Aunt Penny."

The Harry Potter phenomenon has been hit by many kinds of piracy around the world, including pirate videos and DVDs.


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