The external pushes coming from the United States of America, and the threats they pose forced the Chinese government to establish a new intellectual property regime where an institutional infrastructure has been established to ensure the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The citizens of China also acquired a better understanding and awareness of these rights. As a result, intellectual property became one of the facets the Sino-U. S. bilateral trade agenda, as the leaders of the People’s Republic of China became more interested in the implementation of the intellectual property law reforms, Yu (1) explains.
Ever since the mid 1990s, the Chinese authorities, according to Yu (1) have been playing a cat and mouse game with the pirates and counterfeiters of China. From time to time, the authorities are launching large-scale crackdowns on the different products which had been subject to counterfeiting. Yu (1) cites the November 2000 incident when the Chinese government launched an anti-counterfeiting campaign which, in a few months after, was followed by a major crackdown on counterfeit products that may pose a threat to the health and safety of the citizens.
This included food, drugs, medical supplies and agricultural products. In 2002, the Communist leaders came up with a new anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy campaign which then resulted to the confiscation of infringed products. In the same manner, the Chinese leaders through their speeches and position papers give emphasis to the importance of intellectual property as a part of their economic strategy. In line with this, books, television talk shows, media articles and government and academic reports came out, proving the importance of the protection of IPR to the economic development of the nation (Yu 1).
Vice Premier Wu Yi committed China to an action plan to improve IPR enforcement at the JCCT meetings in April 2004 (Brilliant & Waterman 7). However, neither the two parties involved released the details concerning this plan although a press statement said that it was during these meeting that China finally committed to reduce IPR infringement levels in their country. They also vowed to increase penalties for the violators of IPR and to widen the sanctionable activities that could be subject to criminal penalties.
It was also in this meeting that the People’s Republic of China promised to apply criminal sanctions for the import, export, storage, and distribution of pirated and counterfeit products. They also promised to give special attention to piracy happening online and finally, to continue a national campaign which aims to educate their citizens about the importance and benefits that they would receive once they remain committed to the protection of intellectual property rights.
During these meetings, the Vice Premier also said that China would start ratifying and implementing the Internet Treaties that the World Intellectual Property Organization is putting forward (Brilliant & Waterman 7). Because of these meetings, the trade officials of both the United States and China met July in the first meeting of the JCCT IPR Working Group. During this meeting, the officials of the People’s Republic of China confirmed that they would be releasing a drat of a judicial interpretation on criminal IPR enforcement to a select group of organization.
As a result, officials from the United States improved their coordination and communication with the officials coming from China with regard to IPR matters. Finally, China reiterated its intention to sign the WIPO Internet Treaties in order to curb the problems brought about by online piracy. These efforts, however, were still enough as problems continue to exist with even with the enforcement of intellectual property laws. These were very significant in the grassroots level and in the rural areas.
In the same manners, these were also worsened by other institutional problems (i. e. local protectionism and corruption). In the same manner, officials are reluctant and often unable to impose deterrent level penalties, a low number of criminal prosecutions, and ambiguous statutes and complicated administrative procedures (Yu 2). Yu (3) determines four areas where the government officials of the People’s Republic of China should focus in order to combat the problems brought about by the infringement of copyright in their country.