New Moon opening night: Chinese women are swept off their feet

New Moon opening night is a ways off in China, but the first Twilight movie opens there officially next week. Despite a lack of vampire lore in China, young women are snapping up the books and pirated movies.

China has no literary tradition of vampires, aside from a few 17th-century short stories about a blood-sucking variety of ghost, but "Twilight" has swept young Chinese women off their feet.

One or other of the four books in the series has been in the top 30 of the best seller list for the past 10 months, selling a total of 1.5 million copies, says Chang Xiaowu, deputy marketing director of Jieli, the publishing house that bought the Chinese rights.

Though the film "Twilight" opens in general release here only next week, anyone who cares to watch a pirated version on the Internet has been able to do so since it first came out in America. Hundreds of thousands appear to have done so: On Douban, a popular website for comments on books and movies, 67,949 fans have left messages about "Twilight."

"Twilight" is a complete and idealistic portrayal of the most beautiful kind of love that can exist in a woman's heart" wrote one, signing her post "Arwen."

"I would say over 60 percent of the readers are middle school and high school girls" says Mr. Chang. "Edward [Cullen] is a vampire, he is dangerous. Girls love to fall in love with this kind of dangerous boyfriend."

Edward's appeal reaches beyond teenagers here, though. Many of his fans are young women in their twenties. "He is supposed to be the evil one, but actually he is a good person" says Sun Junmei, a 26 year old financial consultant in Beijing who downloaded audio versions of three of the books.

"Edward is a tragic figure because he is a vampire. But at the same time he is super-strong and sincere. That is why I like him" she explains. "And of course he is incredibly cute."

Wu Yulian, a graduate student, is similarly smitten. The books' hero, strong, protective, gentle, and handsome, is "a perfect man," she sighs.

Chang foresees a bright future for the books in China. "When the first movie opens in Chinese cinemas on Nov. 27, that will directly promote sales," he says. "Then later, as the second movie sweeps the whole world we will carry out another round of promotion."

From the UK to India, New Moon fans are over the moon.

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