Between November 1, 2004 and October 31, 2005, Chinese police have uncovered 2,611 piracy cases worth 2.06 billion yuan (US$250 million) and recovered financial losses of 990 million yuan (US$123 million).
A total of 5,001 suspects were arrested for their involvement in these cases, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday.
In November 2004, public security departments at all levels launched an operation codenamed "Hawk" to fight audio-visual piracy across the country. Currently, the ministry is working on 130 major cases including counterfeit products in different industries.
During the campaign, police have captured 12 production lines making video compact discs (VCDs), adding the total sum of the captured production lines to 200.
Various types of commodities were also involved in the campaign, ranging from fake Toyota, Nissan and Mazda accessories, counterfeit Chanel and Boss cosmetics, household electronic appliances, medicine, clothing, tobacco and alcohol.
Some of these cases have been handed over to procuratorates for public prosecution, the spokesman said.
Vice Premier Wu Yi said Monday that China will enhance cooperation with the European Union (EU) in protecting intellectual property rights, during a meeting with Laszlo Kovacs, the EU Taxation and Customs Commissioner.
IPR protection is motivated by China's internal need to accelerate its economic and social development, Wu said, adding that China has dedicated much effort to legislation and law-enforcement in this area.
China officially started formulating its national strategy for IPR at the beginning of the year. The leading group for IPR strategy formulation is chaired by Wu.
In July, top Chinese and US trade officials reached a consensus on IPR protection. The two sides agreed to set up cooperation mechanisms on cross-border prosecutions for IPR violations and on the protection of movie copyrights,
A white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council in April said Chinese public security organs cracked 5,305 criminal cases of infringement on IPR, which involved nearly 2.2 billion yuan (US$272 million), and arrested 7,100 suspects between 2000 and 2004.
In view of increasing transnational and trans-border criminal cases of IPR infringement, Chinese public security organs attach great importance to international law-enforcement cooperation, and have conducted joint operations with law-enforcement organizations of various countries in investigating and collecting evidence, exchanging information and judicial assistance.
Jiang Zhipei, presiding judge of the third civil court of China's Supreme People's Court, said in an interview with Xinhua recently that China has established a full-fledged legal system to protect intellectual property rights.
Chinese courts heard about 15,000 IPR cases last year and at least 400 offenders of IPR laws are imprisoned every year, more than many countries in the world, showing China's determination to crack down on IPR infringement, Jiang said.
"With a population of 1.3 billion, China still stays at a low level in terms of economy, culture and technology. But we have set quite a tough goal in IPR protection," said Zhang Zhigang, director of the State Office of Intellectual Property Protection.
"We have been trying not only to improve the legislation process for IPR protection over the last two decades, which some Western countries have spent more than a hundred years doing, but also to increase public awareness of the issue," Zhang said, adding: "In the fight against piracy, we will not relent."
(Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2005)