Yowza. While we thought Jon Huntsman was being a bit hyperbolic the other day with his claim of Chinese government sponsored hacking (which turned out to have more substantial proof than first thought), it turns out the real China fearmongering horse in the Republican race is Mitt Romney.
In this minute long China scare-a-thon, Romney comes out swinging on every issue from China stealing intellectual property to attacking US infrastructure such as electric systems.
Transcript for those who don’t want to fire up their VPNs (full video after the jump):
We trade openly with China, hoping that free trade and free enterprise will encourage them, over time, to be more open and perhaps more democratic some day in society — we’ll see if that occurs or not.
But what we know is that in the agreements we have with them on trade they don’t follow them.
And one of the most reprehensible practices on the part of Chinese enterprises, many of which are, of course, owned by the government, is stealing the designs, patents and technology of American and other companies. And stealing it, reselling it and making money off of what we’ve created. Or just taking what we’ve created for free. And in addition they are almost certainly the worst perpetrator of cyber attacks on our infrastructure, on our electric systems, on our military establishment. These guys are after us and looking for ways to harm us, economically at least, and we have to recognize that. And look, the Chinese don’t have to be our enemy, we’re not going to be at war with the Chinese, but they also can’t steal from us.
The cyber infiltration claims are substantiated and have been known for quite some time (regarding the electric system infiltration, Russia was also involved, but we all know that the Cold War is SO 1989), but what’s more interesting is that Romney is actually blaming the Chinese government for the always lovable Shanzhai products that come out of China like the GooApple phone and more recently the fake IKEA and Apple Stores.
We don’t understand why he’s blaming the Chinese government for not doing more to curb
piracyintellectual property rights in China, when China has attempted a couple times to do a song and dance to prove their cooperation by holding public “pirated DVD woodchipping” events and has had timely responses to more “egregious” violations like the fake Apple Stores by shutting them down. Perhaps Romney wants a more proactive approach rather than a reactive, but has he forgot about the fact that China has quadruple the population of the United States?
It becomes more of a stretch to consider China’s
piracyintellectual property rights business part of a government plot to weaken the United States when you consider the following:
1. The United States is arguably the most influential creator and distributor of media (both music and film) in the entire world. They have the largest budgets, the most famous directors, and the hottest stars. Any list of the best movies of all time will be primarily dominated by American movies. Their movies, then, are not targeted by Chinese because they’re “American” movies but rather because they’re popular.
2. 58% of all Americans and 70% of young Americans have no moral objection to piracy. Does Romney really think that the United States is a trademark paradise fighting against rogue states seeking to hurt them? Nope. The piracy war is not one of countries against countries, but rather the industry versus the people.
3. Most American movies are not licensed in China for a number of reasons including censorship and wanting to support Chinese domestic media over foreign media. Therefore, much of the time the only way a normal Chinese person can view a movie is to do so illegally. Therefore, much of these numbers cannot be considered “stealing” from the United States because the United States would have never seen that money anyway.
We’re not saying
piracyintellectual property rights isn’t a problem in China that should be addressed using legal channels (who here wouldn’t support something like Hulu here in China?), but we are saying it’s certainly not all one big master plan cooked up by the Chinese government to undermine the US economy.
As for Chinese corporations stealing patents, we’d have a bit more sympathy if the United States didn’t actively seek to shoot itself in the foot by changing its patent laws from first-to-invent to first-to-file — effectively dumping blood in the water for all the Chinese patent sharks to get a bite of American innovation before the inventor so much as sees a dime of returns.
The America Invents Act is friendlier to the infringers than to the patentees in general as it will make the patent less reliable, easier to be challenged and cheaper to be infringed. It is not bad news for developing countries which have fewer patents. Many of the Chinese companies are not patent owners in the U.S. market and their products are often excluded from the market because of patent infringement accusations. This bill will give the companies from developing countries more freedom and ﬂexibility to challenge the relative US patent for doing business in US and make it less costly to infringe.
Deputy Director of IP division of Beijing High People’s Court
Though introduced by Democrats, the party that voted the bill through the House is none other than Romney’s own Republicans. Is anyone really surprised anymore when rhetoric is entirely divorced from policy?