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Enquiry: What are the Regulations for Importing Books and Other Publications into China?

Photo: Importing books into China
Photo: Importing books into China

China has explicit requirements for the import of publications. Chapter 5 of China’s Regulations on the Administration of Publication deals with their import into the country:

Article 41: The business of importing publications shall be operated by publication import units established in accordance with these Regulations. Other units and individuals may not engage in the business of importing publications.

Article 42: Units established for importing publications shall meet the following conditions:

  1. Having the name and articles of association of the publication import unit;
  2. Having the sponsoring unit and the organ in charge that are recognised by the publication administrative department under the State Council;
  3. Having a well-defined scope of business;
  4. Having the ability to review publications;
  5. Having funds that suit the business of importing publications;
  6. Having fixed work premises; and
  7. Other conditions prescribed by laws, administrative regulations and the state.

Article 43: When establishing a publication import unit, the applicant shall file an application with the publication administrative department under the State Council and shall, upon examination and approval and obtaining the publication import licence issued by the publication administrative department under the State Council, collect the business licence from the administrative department for industry and commerce on the strength of the import licence in accordance with law.

When establishing a publication import unit, the applicant shall also go through the corresponding formalities prescribed in the laws and administrative regulations for foreign trade in accordance with law.

Article 44: Where a publication import unit intends to change its name, business scope or capital structure, or where the sponsoring unit or organ in charge intends to merge, split or establish branches, it shall go through examination and approval formalities in accordance with the provisions of Articles 42 and 43 of these Regulations and then go through the relevant registration procedures at the administrative department for industry and commerce on the strength of the approval document.

Article 45: The publications imported by a publication import unit shall not include any content prohibited by Articles 25 and 26 of these Regulations.

A publication import unit shall be responsible for examining the content of the publications it imports. The publication administrative department under the people's government at the provincial level or above may directly examine the content of the publications imported by a publication import unit. If a publication import unit is unable to judge whether the imported publication include any content prohibited by Articles 25 and 26 of these Regulations, it may request the publication administrative department under the people's government at the provincial level or above to examine the content. The publication administrative department under the people's government at the provincial level or above may, when examining upon the request of the publication import unit the content of the imported publications, charge fees at rates approved by the department in charge of price under the State Council.

The publication administrative department under the State Council may prohibit the import of specific publications.

Article 46: A publication import unit shall, before importing publications, submit the table of contents of the publications it intends to import to the publication administrative department under the people's government at the provincial level or above for the record. If the publication administrative department under the people's government at the provincial level or above finds that the import of any publication shall be prohibited or deferred, it shall notify the publication import unit in time and shall inform the customs. Any publication which has been prohibited or deferred from import in notices may not be imported by publication import units or released by customs.

The specific record filing measures for the import of publications shall be formulated by the publication administrative department under the State Council.

Article 47: Distributors of imported publications must purchase publications from publication import units established in accordance with law.

Article 48: A publication import unit that intends to host an exhibition of overseas publications within the territory shall report to the publication administrative department under the State Council for approval. No unit or individual shall host exhibitions of overseas publications without approval.

Where the overseas publications exhibited in accordance with the preceding paragraph need to be sold, the relevant formalities need to be completed in accordance with the relevant provisions of the State.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research