The New York Times reports that bootleg editions of the Harry Potter novels as well as unauthorized continuations and sequels abound in China, where counterfeiting and copyright infringement are major industries.
No one can say with any certainty what the full tally is, but there are easily a dozen unauthorized Harry Potter titles on the market here already, and that is counting only bound versions that are sold on street corners and can even be found in school libraries. Still more versions exist online.
These include "Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Relative Prince," a creation whose name in Chinese closely resembles the title of the genuine sixth book by Rowling, as well as pure inventions that include "Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon," "Harry Potter and the Chinese Empire," "Harry Potter and the Young Heroes," "Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon," and "Harry Potter and the Big Funnel."
Some borrow little more than the names of Rowling’s characters, lifting plots from other well-known authors, like J. R. R. Tolkien, or placing the famously British protagonist in plots lifted from well-known kung-fu epics and introducing new characters from Chinese literary classics like "Journey to the West."
The publishers of these rip-offs are unapologetic and surprisingly candid about what they are doing.
Wang Lili, editor of the China Braille Publishing House, which published "Harry Potter and the Chinese Porcelain Doll" in 2002, one of the Chinese knockoffs, said: "We published the book out of a very common incentive. Harry Potter was so popular that we wanted to enjoy the fruits of its widely accepted publicity in China."
I can only imagine how these knock-offs make Rowling feel…and how confused Chinese readers must be. How can they tell the real books from the fakes?