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Last Updated: Monday, 14 July, 2003, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Chinese Potter frauds hit web
Harry Potter books sold in Beijing
The Chinese translation of the latest book is due in October
Chinese fans of Harry Potter are posting unauthorised translations of the latest book on the internet - three months before it is officially published.

The move has unnerved the country's official publisher amid fears it will hit book sales.

The Chinese-language publisher says it has no right to stop amateur versions of Order of the Phoenix from appearing on electronic bulletin boards.

They contain rough and often confusing translations of the first four chapters and give brief outlines of the remaining 34 chapters.

  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The English language version is a best-seller
The book will not be officially available in Chinese until October.

An official of People's Literature Publishing House, which has the series' publishing rights in China, said it was concerned that sales could be hit.

A German website featuring similar translations was forced to remove the texts after pressure from JK Rowling's publishers.

"Even though the translations are poor, people might not bother buying the book if they already know the plot," said Zhang Jian, an assistant to the publisher's executive editor.

Chinese editions of JK Rowling's first four books about "Ha-li Bo-te" - as he is known in China - have sold millions of copies since their launch in October 2001.

In China, 5,000 English-language first editions of the latest novel sold out, despite costing a relatively expensive 178 yuan (12).

Potter's popularity in China has already spawned pirated versions of the books and films.

An unknown Chinese author produced an entire fake adventure, Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-To-Dragon, which was attributed to Rowling.

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