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China TV airs "Prison Break" for English study
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BEIJING (Reuters) - A television station in eastern China which flouted a national ban on U.S. drama "Prison Break", said it aired the popular serial on its children's channel for "English training" purposes, state media reported on Friday.

Like other shows with crime-related content, "Prison Break", a drama about fugitives' on the run after escaping jail, is banned in China, as part of a 2004 order "to protect the living environment of non-adults", the Beijing Youth Daily said.

The ban has failed to stop the show from becoming hugely popular in China, where pirated copies of the first season are sold openly for less than $10 in DVD shops and on street corners.

An editor at Jinan TV, a station in China's eastern Shandong province, said excerpts of "Prison Break" had aired on its children's channel as part of a regular programme called "Watch Movies, Learn English", the paper reported.

"The programme would show some scenes, then the host would explain the meaning of some of the words used and how they would apply in real life," the paper quoted the editor surnamed Zhang as saying.

Zhang said the show had only aired for three or four days before they were reminded by "relevant parties" not to "push the line".

"We also feared causing an intellectual property dispute, so we stopped airing it," Zhang said, adding that the show had been sourced from "English enthusiasts".

"Many TV stations have played the whole series, and also with advertisements. So, as far as we're concerned, this has become a bit of beat-up."

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