China, The Us And Taiwan Of Copyrights And Human Rights

773 words - 3 pages

China, the US and TaiwanOf Copyrights and Human RightsDuring January and February 1995, the question of copyrights and intellectual property rights was high on the agenda between the US and China. The problem was that rampant Chinese piracy of American computer software, music CDs, videos and movies was costing the American software, music and movie industry billions of dollars annually.In an attempt to enforce copyrights, the US threatened trade sanctions amounting to some US$ one billion / year against China, and set a February 26th deadline. In the end, the two sides came to an accord, and China reportedly agreed to clamp down on pirate manufacturers of CDs and to start abiding by international copyright agreements. The accord had a price for the US too: according to news reports China insisted that the US support China's application as a founding member of the World Trade Organization. On 12 March 1995, US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor stated that the US would do so.The US firmness on the economic front was combined with a new willingness of the Clinton Administration to take China to task on the issue of human rights. In its annual Human Rights report, made public in the beginning of February 1995, the State Department concluded that during the past year there was ``no significant, concrete improvement in China's human rights record.''In the beginning of March 1995, at the annual meeting of the 53-member UN Human Rights Commission, the US also backed a European draft resolution, which expressed concern at continuing reports of violations and severe restrictions of fundamental freedoms. Regrettably, the resolution was narrowly defeated by a 21-20 vote, after China strenuously lobbied against it.Taiwan Communiqué comment: While we welcome the renewed attention given by the US to human rights in China, the overall picture of US policy towards China is still fuzzy. The 15-month old policy of the Clinton Administration is termed Comprehensive Engagement, but it ends up more like a hodge-podge of uncoordinated events, often in contradiction with each other. Sending Hazel O'Leary to China to sign energy contracts at the time when the US Trade Representative was going through its final round of trade negotiations, and US defense officials cozying up to the Peoples Liberation Army while the State Department was trying to tackle human rights are just a few of them.Jiang...

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