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WAPI Delegation Calls for Support
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A Chinese delegation representing a China-made version of a networking technology has called for diplomatic support after quitting an ongoing international meeting in Prague due to "unfair treatment."

"It has become necessary for the Chinese government to give diplomatic support to the home-grown WAPI technology," the delegation said on Thursday through an e-mail to Xinhua.

The U.S. government has played an important role in supporting its own technology competing against WAPI, said the e-mailed statement.

The meeting in the capital of Czech Republic was held to discuss which of the two technologies would become the international standard for wireless local area network (WLAN) encryption. The Chinese version, known as WAPI, was competing against its rival American 11i for the right to be recognized by the International Standardization Organization (ISO).

Last March the WAPI standard lost an international vote in a fast-track ballot, which the Chinese side says was unfairly conducted under the influence of the 11i camp.

According to ISO rules, national bodies voting against either of the two technologies are supposed to attend the meeting in Prague, scheduled to close on Thursday local time. Only seven of the 17 countries opposing WAPI showed up.

All kinds of views should have been presented at the meeting but actually it did not allow the Chinese delegation to speak about IEEE's violations of ISO procedures and rules, said the statement.

IEEE, the American Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc, has been accused by the Chinese delegation of violating ISO rules and misleading other nations to vote against WAPI.

"China lost its right to elaborate on its opinion at the meeting and WAPI has been deprived of an opportunity to change its fate following the vote," the statement said.

"In this extremely unfair atmosphere, it is meaningless for the Chinese delegation to continue attending the meeting," it said.

"The monopoly force from the American standard maker IEEE poisoned the voting process and created an unfair atmosphere at the Prague meeting," said a member of the Chinese delegation surnamed Huang.

In appeals made to the ISO in late April, China asked the organization to delay analysis of the voting result and IEEE to apologize for its "amoral behavior."

The appeal is still pending but the analysis meeting was held despite the request for a delay.

As a wireless security technology developed by Chinese companies, WAPI has received a lot of attention.

In May 2003, the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry (MII) declared WAPI as the national standard and said that all WLAN equipment sold in China should comply with the new technology as of Dec. 1 that year. A transition period was granted later to extend the compliance deadline for some WLAN products to June 1, 2004.

However, during the following annual joint commission on commerce and trade between China and the United States, China agreed to delay the enforcement of the WAPI standard because of pressure from the 11i camp through the American government.

The Chinese government has decided to adopt and support the technology in domestic market. The WAPI work group hopes to see more diplomatic efforts from its government to facilitate its way into the international market.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)

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