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China Says It Is Urging Boycott of Pirated Goods

<i> From Associated Press</i>

The government is urging Chinese citizens to refrain from buying illegally copied books, computer software and other products, the state-run New China News Agency reported Wednesday.

It was the latest in a series of efforts to avert a showdown with the United States over the theft of intellectual property.

China’s State Copyright Administration called for a nationwide boycott of pirated products and asked people to inform officials about where such goods are being sold, the agency said.

The official media will begin a campaign to explain to Chinese the harm caused by piracy and the long-term economic benefits of protecting intellectual property rights, an administration spokesman said.

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The spokesman also said China plans changes this year in its copyright laws that will give greater protection to owners of foreign copyrights. He did not elaborate.

Talks between Beijing and Washington on copyright protection broke down last week.

U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor warned last week that up to $2.8 billion of Chinese exports to the United States could be hit with punitive tariffs if Beijing does not halt piracy of U.S. software, movies and music.

China has threatened to retaliate if the United States imposes sanctions. China said measures would include a 100% increase in duties on cassette tapes, compact discs, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and other products.

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China claims it has made strides in protecting copyrights. But Washington says that enforcement of copyright laws remains far from adequate and that pirated Chinese-made products are being exported, further harming U.S. companies.


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