BEIJING Jan 11 China has arrested more than
4,000 people for violating intellectual property rights (IPR)
since November and will enforce tougher punishments to combat
the "rampant" problem, a senior government official said on
Gao Feng, deputy director of the Ministry of Public
Security's Economic Crimes Investigation Bureau, told a news
conference that his agency had uncovered more than 2,000 cases
since China launched a six-month campaign to beef up
enforcement of intellectual property rights last November.
The financial value of the cases totalled 2.3 billion yuan
($348 million), Gao said, adding that the number of arrests,
cases and financial value represent a tripling from the same
period a year ago.
"On one hand they demonstrate the achievements we've made
in cracking down on the violation of IPR, on the other hand it
also indicates that IPR violation is still quite rampant and
frequent," Gao said. "So we want to introduce heavier
China's lax enforcement of intellectual property rights
could feature in trade talks between U.S. President Barack
Obama and his counterpart Hu Jintao, when the Chinese
president visits the United States next week.
Under mounting pressure from the United States, China has
vowed harsher punishment of copyright piracy, responding with
a six-month campaign aimed at counterfeit books, music, DVDs
and software, in an effort to show that the country is serious
about tackling the problem.
China has promised "concrete results" from the latest
crackdown, but U.S. groups say a sustained effort is necessary
to achieve real results.
Despite China's campaign and repeated vows to get tough,
pirated goods remain widely available on Chinese streets and
in shops, sometimes sold within sight of large propaganda
posters denouncing IPR violations.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance, which
represents U.S. copyright industry groups, has estimated U.S.
trade losses in China due to piracy at $3.5 billion in 2009.
U.S. customs officials say 80 percent of the fake tennis
shoes, clothing, luxury bags and other goods they seize each
year at the border come from China.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Alex