Pressure on local cadres to combat counterfeit goods

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 April, 2012, 12:00am


The central government has pledged to combat fake and shoddy products by monitoring local governments' efforts to counteract them as part of their annual achievement appraisals.

Following a string of food safety and piracy scandals, the State Council has announced plans to build up incentive mechanisms designed to tackle infringements of intellectual copyright and counterfeit products.

Analysts said the crackdown on pirated goods comes after mounting international pressure.

The central government's focus will be on food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, farming materials, construction materials, electrical and mechanical products and automobile parts, and on efforts to protect copyright, trademarks and patents in various industries.

Infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the preponderance of fake goods are a major challenge for the central government and an embarrassment for Beijing internationally.

Analysts also said these counterfeit products were a threat to social stability.

China was on a priority watch list included in last year's annual review of IPR protection and enforcement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Professor Wang Yukai, from the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the clampdown was not about window-dressing, but involved a serious intent and effort to tackle issues relevant to people's well-being and happiness.

'It's the first time it will be part of local governments' performance appraisals and it will be one of the criteria for the promotion of cadres,' he said.

The central government has pledged to tackle infringement issues before.

In December, it told all government departments at or above municipal level to use only genuine and authorised computer software by the end of this year.

It also enforced a national crackdown, from October 2010 to June last year, on more than 1,200 manufacturers involved in making more than one billion yuan (HK$1.2 billion) worth of fake products.

Wang, acknowledged, however, that copyright infringement and counterfeit products were still rampant and that a long-term strategy would be required.

A work team headed by Vice-Premier Wang Qishan has been set up to implement a national campaign and ensure that measures are adhered to.

Li Shunde, director of law and IPR at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' postgraduate school, said governments had enormous administrative powers and that as long as all levels of administration on the mainland took the drive against copyright infringement seriously it can be successful.

'It's not a show staged for foreign countries, but a necessity on the way to achieving the goals set out during the 12th Five-year plan,' Li said.