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China launches crackdown on box office cheats

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- China's film watchdog will launch a campaign against box office fraud on Wednesday.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said that the action will be divided into three stages, requiring the distributors and cinemas to correct their behavior before provincial and national inspections, according to a SARFT statement.

According to data filed by cinemas, films screened in China raked in more than 44 billion yuan (6.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015, a 48.7-percent yearly increase.

However, authorities believe box office forgeries are common in the world's second-largest film market.

Zhang Hongsen, film bureau head of the SARFT, said film producers suffer badly from box office cheating as their profits rely heavily on the box office sales.

Box office cheating twists the market and will be damaging for both producers and cinemas, Zhang said.

The administration encouraged viewers to report box office cheats and said it will develop an app to help them identify fake tickets.

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