January 12, 2010

Bi ying ying Phases Out Plagiarism In China, Pt. 2

What Became of the Chinese Writers Found Out for Plagiarism?

Guo, Jingming (郭敬明)

Three of Guo's five novels were accused of plagiarism. The book that won him fame in 2003, City of Fantasy, was accused of copying Japanese manga RG Veda. A later book, Meng Li Hua Luo Zhi Duo Shao (Never Flowers in Never Dreams) stole "idea, story, main plots, major characters and language" from Chinese writer Zhuang, Yu's Quan Li Quan Wai. Guo's third novel, Xia Zhi Wei Zhi, was said to have borrowed characters and dialogues from Ai Yazawa's manga Nana.

Except for Never Flowers in Never Dreams, which Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled to be a work of plagiarism, the two other accusations have not been brought to court, probably because of reasons such as language barrier, different genres and nationalities. In the case of Never Flowers in Never Dreams, Guo Jingming paid Zhuang Yu 210,000 yuan but refuse to apologize as ordered.

Guo is still wildly successful after the conviction.

In 2007, Guo was inducted into the Chinese Writers' Association, a government-sponsored organization.

In 2008, Guo's new book Xiao Shi Dai (Tiny Times), rose to No. 1 on the Chinese Bestselling Novels List.

In 2009, Guo placed 68th on the Forbe's list of Chinese celebrities.

Guo Ni (aka GirlneYa, 郭妮)
Guo Ni was and might still be one of the mega-names in the young adult romance fiction business. In 2006, several news articles compared her to Guo Jingming, claiming that her novels attract more buyers than Guo Jingming.

Guo Ni has been reported to have plagiarized hundreds of Japanese mangas. Furthermore, reports of creative teams and ghostwriting abound, a claim that Guo Ni's publisher vehemently denies.

Guo Ni is still publishing.

An Yiru (安意如)
An Yiru has been dogged by charges of plagiarism ever since the publication of her first novel in 2007. Once described as "a self-reliant, handicapped, pretty female writer" and "gifted lady" by the media, An Yiru is now revealed to have plagiarized everything from her novels to blog posts. Her gifted writing was, in fact, written by other people.

Baidu encyclopedia provides detailed comparisons between the original works and An's essays. Unlike Guo Jingming and Guo Ni, who at least paraphrases or circumspectly plagiarizes across genres, An bi ying ying paragraphs without alteration, including typos and punctuation marks.

An Yiru is still publishing.

Weiwei Zhang (aka vivibear)
Vivibear started penning romance novels in 2006. She soon became the goddess of time travel books, with more than 10 titles to her name. All her stories feature ordinary young girls who travel across time or space and who are zealously pursued by famous handsome men such as Ramses II, Qin Shi Huang, Abe no Seimei, and Okita Sōji.

According to the latest tally, vivibear has copied and pasted from more than 600 novels/essays by 500 writers, which no doubt contributed hugely to the 10 books she wrote in less than 3 years. News reports of vivibear's impressive feat cast doubts on the Chinese publishing business. It appears that neither vivibear nor her book editors proofread, because her books are rife with the many typos and traditional Chinese pictogram copied directly from the original articles. Or perhaps, the editors tacitly allow plagiarism for the sake of profits.

In 2009, vivibear became known in China as the Goddes of Bi Ying Ying.

Vivibear is still publishing.

Chinese Publisher React to Plagiarism

When facing plagiarism charges, many Chinese mainland publishers choose to equivocate while they continue to publish the accused books. Occasionally, editors make statements which are both memorable and revealing.

An Yiru's Publisher

Editor Yang Wenxuan admits that An Yiru lacks cultivation when it comes to ancient Chinese, because her life experiences and education limit her. When writing about poems, she must depend on outside sources, including internet literary analysis.

"Even though An has her own style of writing, the World Wide Wide causes her indigestion, and she forgets copyright when using stuff written by other people. It just means she is a newbie, not that she copies out of evil intentions. Besides, when it comes to poem analysis, it is easy to appear to be plagiarizing"


Young girl magazine Princess Monthly (公主志)

There has been a recent post in our forum accusing Wei Ya's "Prince Is Marshmallow," published in the October 2008 edition of Princess Monthly, of plagiarism. All our editors are currently occupied with preparing the next issue of the magazine. We do not have time to look at the other article which "Prince is Marshmallow" supposedly plagiarized. We hereby post the entire article of "Prince is Marshmallow."

Plagiarism, whether language, structure, plot, character and others, is a serious charge to writers. If anyone wish to accuse Wei Ya, then please produce detailed evidence consistent with Chinese copyright laws and regulations. If you only have hearsay, far-fetched evidence, and make trouble for us out of malicious intent, then you shall apologize to writer Wei Ya, Princess Monthly and readers of Princess Monthly.



Few days later, one editor finally found more time to elucidate:

"Prince Is Marshmallow" was a short story published on October 2008. Even I, its editor, have already forgotten it.

"Prince is Marshmallow" is similar to "My Jelly Pudding," Moreover, one of the sentences was identical. Nevertheless, we editors do not have the right to determine whether this is plagiarism or not.


Shanda, who has decided to publish Goddess of Bi Ying Ying's novels (盛大)

Regarding the fact that vivibear has plagiarized, we are currently communicating with relevant departments in charge of her book. We request that you provide evidence that her new book has plagiarized. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may bring you.

对于此问题正在进一步和相关部门进行沟通,目前需要您提供vivibear 《花神系列》作品抄袭的证据,以便我们进行核实确认,给您带来不便敬请谅解!

Ironically, Shanda is the parent company of jjwxc.com, the literature website that became a laughingstock in the first half of 2009 because of rampant plagiarism. Even more ironically, Shanda is currently suing Baidu for not promptly removing pirated e-book sites from search results.

(To the best of my knowledge, in recent years, i. e. 2003 and on, none of the Chinese mainland publishers have taken proactive steps in these high-profile plagiarism cases.)

Readers React to Plagiarism

To learn about attitude towards plagiarism among readers in China, I posted the following survey at three websites: Douban, one net literature website, and one book forum.
1. Plagiarism is a talent.
1. 会抄也是一种能力
2. I don't care as long as the book is entertaining.
2. 不关我的事,书好看就行
3. I don't read books that are accused of plagiarism.
3. 不赞成抄袭,不看抄来的文

Of those who replied, 36 people chose 1, 16 people chose 2, and 27 people chose 3. Additionally, it appears that many cannot differentiate between imitation and plagiarism, legal allusion/referencing and illegal copying.

There were also several mind-boggling responses:
[This person chose 1] Copying is no big deal. If that person writes well, why can't I just use that?

I personally would feel honored if somebody copied me. It means I am good enough to be plagiarized.

Related Post(s)
Bi ying ying Phases Out Plagiarism In China, Pt. 1
Bi ying ying Phases Out Plagiarism In China, Pt. 3

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