Beijing, April 13:

China claimed on Friday to have confiscated more than 90 per cent of the pirated CDs and DVDs produced nationwide last year, amid deep tensions with the United States over copyright abuse.

A team of five million workers from the Ministry of Culture fanned out across the country in 2006 to fight piracy and seized 110 million illegal CDs and DVDs, an average of 22 each, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua said there were 120 million fake CDs and DVDs produced each year, meaning only 10 million such products were left to be sold in China and around the world. Based on this statistics, 91.6 per cent of the fake discs produced in China were confiscated.

The figure of 10 million appears remarkably low considering the vast number of shops across the country that each sell thousands of pirated movies and musical CDs.

Many governments overseas also claim that pirated Chinese DVDs and CDs have flooded their markets.

The Xinhua article continued Beijing’s public relations counterattack after the United States on Tuesday lodged a case at the World Trade Organisation over widespread copyright piracy in China.

“Piracy and counterfeiting levels in China remain unacceptably high,” US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in Washington, brandishing a fake Chinese DVD of Ben Stiller hit: “Night at the Museum.” China’s top copyright official said in response that US did not understand the huge efforts Beijing had undertaken to combat the problem.