China passes law punishing companies for box-office fraud

China is attempting to crack down on box office fraud in the world's second-biggest movie market by setting out punishments for companies that fabricate box office earnings and other data.

Under a law adopted by the Chinese legislature Monday, film distributors and cinemas that falsify ticket sales data will have their illegal earnings confiscated and be fined up to 500,000 yuan ($74,000).

They also face being ordered to suspend operations and having their business licenses revoked.

Chinese cinemas and distributors have been accused in past of faking box office returns, usually by buying up tickets or counting some of the earnings of one film toward those of another. Such actions might boost the movie's profile enough to attract a bigger audience, constituting unfair competition.