“It’s a kind of science fiction novel”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

In the latest sign that trade talks between the U.S. and China are going nowhere fast, official Chinese state-controlled media is now running columns blasting Trump's demands and claims that China steals intellectual property.

Without mincing words, the People’s Daily says Trump is using intellectual property rights as a "political tool."

An op-ed article in the People’s Daily targeted the Section 301 report Washington issued in March 2018, saying the authors fabricated the claim that China stole hundreds of billions of dollars worth of intellectual property from the U.S.

“If the report is based on imagined or selective data, it’s a kind of science fiction novel,” it said.

“Intellectual property rights should be a bridge for innovation and cooperation among countries. In the hands of the U.S. it has become a political tool, a weapon to contain other countries, and a veil for bullying the world.”

It can be true that Chinese businesses steal intellectual property and true that Trump is using property rights as a political tool.

I don't think many people would seriously dispute that Chinese businesses have long pilfered American intellectual property, but in our current situation that is almost beside the point. It's not as if Trump is waging a trade war based on the merits, because there is no merit.

Chinese businesses do steal intellectual property -- from imitation handbags to knockoff action figures -- but waging a trade war over that is like using a nuclear weapon to remove an ant hill.

This is obviously just my interpretation, but growing anti-American trade sentiment appearing in state-controlled media seems like a sign that China will not back down or give in to Trump's whims even if he imposes tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese government may be preparing the public for what comes next.

I hope I'm wrong.

  • muselet

    Preventing—or at least controlling—misappropriation of intellectual property is part of the World Trade Organization’s remit. You know, the same WTO Donald Trump has spent a couple of years screeching about.

    China is being disingenuous: of course Chinese companies copy IP without permission or compensation.

    How much of that op-ed is a serious signal to the US that China will not blink and how much is just dick-swinging remains to be seen.