U.S. claims on copyright piracy "groundless": China

Chinese security officers prepare to destroy pirated DVDs and software during a ceremony in Beijing April 14, 2007. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Foreign Ministry has dismissed as “groundless” U.S. accusations that China is failing to crack down on copyright piracy, ahead of talks with top U.S. officials next week, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

It quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu as saying China had implemented policies to combat piracy in copyrighted films, music, videogames and other entertainment products.

“The involved U.S. Congress members should respect the fact and stop making groundless accusations against China,” he said.

Chinese leaders will hold talks on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

While a range of issues will be addressed, including Chinese trade policies and the yuan exchange rate, intellectual property rights will be of major importance.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said earlier this week that Washington would use the economic talks to press China on copyright piracy and innovation.

The United States placed China and Russia at the top of a piracy list earlier in May.

However, Ma said protecting intellectual property rights was of great importance to the Chinese government and that combating piracy had become part of its national strategy.

Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Mark Heinrich