Wednesday, April 11, 2007

China Trade Complaint

The United States has filed a formal complaint against the People's Republic of China at the WTO because of the rampant and mostly unchecked piracy of intellectual property in the PRC. American movies are on sale as pirated DVDs on the streets of China almost as soon as they open in theaters, and the illegal copies quickly make their way around the world. The PRC Commerce Ministry has engaged in finger-wagging at the U.S. complaint, calling it counterproductive and calling instead for "dialogue and cooperation."

Well, no.

Anyone who has taken even a cursory glance at this blog knows that I am no fan of the Bush administration or its general aversion to "dialogue and cooperation" in international affairs. However, this action is right on target, and indeed long overdue.

The Plutocratic Republic of China (富豪的中华民国) has no democracy, nor anything remotely resembling freedom of speech. What they do have is tight control over their economy. If the PRC government had the slightest inclination to take on the problem of pirate DVDs, pirate software, and other forms of theft of intellectual property, 90% of the problem would disappear tomorrow. Local officials know where these DVDs are made and who is making them, at least the "big fish." A few of China's signature "show trials" would work wonders. They could even put the trials on DVDs and label them as the latest Hollywood blockbuster, just to put a fine point on it.

There has been for decades an official "look the other way" policy from the lowest street cop to the highest halls of government. We've been trying "dialogue and cooperation" with nothing much to show for our efforts, and it's about time to do something a bit more confrontational. (Thankfully, not even Dubya is stupid enough to invade China.)

Congratulations to the Bush administration for doing something right (for once).

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