Local govt says book seizure was lawful operation

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-9 0:13:01

The local district government in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province said Tuesday that the local publication watchdog's confiscation of a lawyer's books on suspicion that they were "illegal publications" was a regular law enforcement operation and the results of the investigation will be released through proper channels.

Yuan Yulai, a lawyer at Zhejiang Zhixing Law Firm, filed a lawsuit against the culture, radio, television, news and publication bureau of Ningbo's Jiangdong district on Monday, after 14 books he bought online and that were published by Taiwan or Hong Kong publishers were seized by the bureau's law enforcement officers and local police on March 4.

An official surnamed Zhang from the district's publicity department told the Global Times on Tuesday that the bureau's operation was conducted in accordance with laws. Zhang said the seized books are undergoing further identification and the results of this process will be released through the proper channels.

"Local law enforcement departments have recently conducted a joint inspection of the publications on the market. We have registered the evidence of suspected illegal publications for preservation, and further investigation is underway," said Zhang.

However, Yuan argued that the operation's procedure was illegal because the law enforcement officers confiscated the books, which goes against the country's Law on Administrative Penalty.

According to that law, administrative organs may obtain evidence through sampling. Under circumstances where it is likely that the evidence may be destroyed, lost, or difficult to obtain at a later point, administrative organs may - with the approval of their leading members - first register the evidence for preservation and make a timely decision on its disposition within seven days. 

"If they had merely registered the evidence for preservation, I would still have these books in my hand and would have no need to file a lawsuit," said Yuan.

Yuan demanded that the bureau return his books, also noting that the officers had no right to forcibly examine his mail.

Posted in: Society

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