NANCHANG -- China's top intellectual property
rights (IPR) official lashed out on Tuesday at the United States' WTO complaint
over alleged "copyright piracy" in China.
"It's not a sensible move for the US government to file such complaint," said
Tian Lipu, commissioner of the Intellectual Property Office, at a national
meeting of IPR officials in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province.
By doing so, the United States had ignored the Chinese government's immense
efforts and great achievements in strengthening IPR protection and tightening
enforcement of its copyright laws, Tian said.
"Such efforts are continuous and China has never slackened," he told Xinhua.
Tian cited a new judicial interpretation issued by the Supreme People's Court
last week that lowered the threshold for prosecuting manufacturers and vendors
of counterfeit intellectual property products.
The new rules state that anyone who manufactures 500 or more counterfeit
copies (discs) of computer software, music, movies, TV shows and other
audio-video products can be prosecuted and faces a prison term of up to three
They replace the 2004 rules whose net only extended to those who produced
1,000 pirated discs.
"It's a practical move and indicates China's determination to fight piracy,"
said Tian. "But the United States has filed a WTO complaint right when China is
forging ahead with its IPR protection efforts."
IPR protection was an international issue and needed international
cooperation, he said. "To do a better job in combating piracy, we need dialogue
and cooperation, not confrontation and condemnation."
Tian said he hoped the United States would work with China in exploring ways
to make IPR protection more effective and further tighten enforcement of
IPR protection, Tian said, also served China's goal for overall development.
"Whether the Americans take us to the WTO or not won't affect the Chinese
government's determination to protect IPR and combat copyright piracy."
The US government announced on Monday it was filing two new trade cases
against China over "copyright piracy and restrictions on the sale of American
movies, music and books there".
On Tuesday, China expressed its great regret and strong dissatisfaction at
the US decision to file WTO cases against China over intellectual property
rights and access to the Chinese publication market.
"The Chinese government has always been firm in IPR protection and its
achievements are for everyone to see. China and the United States have also
maintained sound communication and consultation on the access to the Chinese
publication market," the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
The United States' action against China contradicted the consensus between
Chinese and US leaders to bolster bilateral trade and economic relations and
properly settle all trade disputes, it said.
Such a move would "seriously harm the existing Sino-US cooperative relations"
and have "a negative impact on bilateral trade and economic relations", said the
ministry's spokesman Wang Xinpei.
The Chinese government has not yet received a request for consultations from
the United States, but will deliberate upon and actively respond to a formal
request, said Wang.
Under WTO rules, if the parties to a trade dispute fail to iron out their
differences within a 60-day consultation period, the complaining party may refer
the matter to a WTO dispute settlement panel.