China pledges anti-piracy offensive

China has promised to tighten a crackdown on product piracy - a key source of tension with Washington - and improve enforcement cooperation with foreign governments ahead of the Chinese president's trip to the US.

    China is considered the world's top source of pirated products

    Hu Jintao is to visit the White House on 24 April, and Beijing has reportedly been preparing initiatives to ease trade tensions ahead of a meeting with George Bush, the US president.

    US officials say unauthorised goods cost legitimate producers worldwide billions of dollars a year in lost potential sales, and China is widely regarded as the world's top source of illegal copies of music, movies, software, designer clothes, medicines and other products.

    Such fake products are still widely available despite government crackdowns.

    China contends that the situation has improved, with the government shutting down 17 production lines making pirated DVDs and CDs last year and six this year, according to Yan Xiaohong, deputy commissioner of the National Copyright Administration of China.

    "We are very tough in our measures," Yan said at a news conference.

    US officials have been pressing Beijing for stiffer penalties and to shut down factories and stores linked to counterfeits.

    Cooperation

    Beijing wants to strengthen cooperation with international authorities, according to Zheng Shaodong, a Public Security Ministry official, who appeared at the news conference with Yan.

    "We hope to strike hard against international intellectual property rights infringements to maintain legal rights and international and economic and trade orders," Zheng said.

    Carlos Gutierrez, the US commerce secretary, was to arrive in Beijing late on Monday for trade talks that he said would include the status of China's anti-piracy enforcement.

    "We are very tough in our measures"

    Yan Xiaohong,

    Deputy Commissioner of the National Copyright Administration of China

    "We want to see more results. We're not there," he said while visiting the southwestern city of Chongqing earlier on Monday.

    "I don't think there are enough criminal prosecutions. I believe penalties are still on the light side."

    Yan said that it is "a process" for China to enforce intellectual property rights because it is a developing country and that the problem wouldn't go away overnight.

    Crackdown

    He added that in a recent investigation of disc manufacturers, Chinese authorities pulled the licenses of six companies and halted production at eight more, including one company in Beijing and another in the southern province of Guangdong.

    Other punitive measures against counterfeiters include fines and warnings, he said.

    Authorities are offering rewards of up to 300,000 yuan ($36,000) for tips on illegal production lines, Yan said.

    Yan said authorities were taking "effective measures" to promote use of legitimate software by Chinese companies. Industry estimates say 90% of software used in China is pirated.

    Yan said personal-computer makers have been ordered to install only licensed software, and big companies are required to use only legal products.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.