The Chinese government says it will target Internet pirates in a bid to cut illegal downloading in the country.

Zhang Xin Jian, deputy director general of the Ministry of Culture's marketing department, in Cannes for the Midem and MidemNet conferences said illegal downloaders and uploaders would face prosecution as the government bids to "tighten control" of the Internet.

"We have just started fighting against piracy," said Jian. "But we are very confident that we will get victory very soon."

He said the government had already had some success with a scheme to issue certificates to legal download sites.

Jian cast doubt upon IFPI figures that suggested 99 per cent of the Chinese market was controlled by pirates, but pledged: "We have to make sure that the market share for legal products far exceeds that for illegal ones."

China is the Country of Honor at this year's Midem, where over 100 Chinese businesses are attending this year, according to Jian. He also pledged government help in promoting Chinese music abroad.

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