What explains the persistent gap between China's de jure and de facto compliance with the intellectual property rights (IPR) norms, despite China's consistent legislative and enforcement efforts since the country's WTO accession in 2001? I argue that the degree of China's (non)compliance with IPR norms should be understood as a result of balancing two factors: the need for short-term economic gains by violating others' IPR, and the aspiration for long-term sustained growth by respecting IPR norms. Based on 17 months of field work in China from 2007 to 2008, I argue that Chinese IPR policy has emerged within the context of the legacy of planned economy and an immature market mechanism. In this environment, only a small handful of elite Chinese domestic private-sector companies are actively engaged in innovative activities -- most firms continue to rely on the input of natural resources and cheap labor to survive market competition. Although foreign business investors in China hold IPR as a vital component of their competitiveness, their business activities are interpreted as exploiting Chinese wealth by economic nationalists in the Chinese mass public. As such, under some circumstances the advocates of IPR norms -- those few cutting-edge Chinese companies along with foreign IPR holders -- are strong enough to persuade Chinese government officials to comply with the IPR norms and achieve the country's long-term economic development goals. However, under many other circumstances, Chinese local governments will protect IPR infringers and ignore IPR norms -- even though they possess the enforcement capacity --because of the short term political interest in raising tax revenue and creating jobs.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2011. Major: Political science. Advisors: Kathryn Sikkink, Daniel Kelliher. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 251 pages, appendices A-D.
From words to deeds: explaining China’s (Non)compliance with the global intellectual property rights regime since the country’s WTO entry.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.