Counterfeiters were selling illegal DVD copies of the latest Star Wars movie on Beijing streets Sunday, just three days after the movie opened in Chinese cinemas.
The copies of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," priced at 20 yuan $2.40 were being offered by vendors out of shoulder bags on Beijing's main avenue.
The pirate copies were slightly blurry but appeared not to have been filmed in a cinema, as many of China's imported fakes are.
The sales were taking place despite repeated Chinese promises to stamp out a thriving industry in copied goods that foreign companies say cost them billions of dollars a year in lost potential sales.
"Revenge of the Sith" opened Thursday on Chinese screens in a rare simultaneous opening with cinemas abroad.
Distributors hope that such worldwide premiers will defeat pirates by giving audiences in China and other countries a chance to see films before illegal copies could be made.
Studios complain that China has created a market for pirated movies by blocking or delaying release of many films in an effort to protect state-owned studios.
Pirated movies sold in China are made from videotapes shot in cinemas abroad or from preview copies given out to film distributors and others in the industry.
China says it is trying to prevent piracy, with some 9,000 cases passing through its courts in 2004.
In one highly publicized case last month, a Shanghai court sentenced two American men to prison terms of up to 2 1/2 years for selling Chinese pirated DVDs to customers overseas on Internet sites. SOURCE