Blame Canada, China Edition

What happens when you get a steady stream of unfounded claims from the U.S. government and U.S. lobby groups on the state of Canadian copyright law?  What happens when Canadian lobby groups representing largely foreign interests try to convince Canadians that they are a "pirate nation"?  What happens when the Canadian media simply transcribes those claims without any effort to provide context and balance?

You get this. China's response to the U.S. complaint at the WTO is to blame Canada.  Yes, a country of 32 million people that is compliant with its international copyright obligations is now painted by China – China – as a "worse offender" of IP rights.


  1. James Dobson says:

    Dangerous Attitudes
    There is a very dangerous situation developing in the US: concerns about espionage, product safety, and (in this case) pirated goods are all being used to garner support for the creation of tariffs and trade barriers against imports from China. While the US administration was trumpeting their recent successful negotiations in lowering such barriers with South Korea, they were at the same time instituting penalties on glossy paper imports from China–with other penalties yet to come.

    This is absolutely the wrong thing to do: the trade deficit should be fixed by encouraging spending restraint. Raising tariffs can create conditions which can precipitate international conflicts, whereas lowering trade barriers is a powerful contribution to world peace–after all, who wants to go to war with their customers?

    China gets blamed for intervening in the currency markets to suppress the value of the RMB, yet like all market transactions there are two parties involved: someone has to be creating all the money used to buy these goods. Whether it is through direct market intervention or through the relaxation of lending policies (which are now coming home to roost as the sub-prime lending fiasco), it is this “easy money” policy that is to blame for the trade deficit. The institution of trade barriers will not solve this problem, and only serves to add fuel to an already volatile climate of international relations.

    Clearly there are lots of potentially relevant stats for this situation. Here’s my rundown of several. The first line of numbers is from the Chinese response in the Forbes article. Any other numbers came from Wikipedia, or are calculated from other numbers in the table.

    ………………………….. Canada China
    loss of GDP per capita from piracy (a)
    ……………………. $16.00 $1.68
    GDP per capita (w)
    ……………………. $35,494 $7,598
    % loss of GDP per capita from piracy
    ……………………. 0.04508% 0.02211%
    population (w)
    ……………………. 31612897 1242612226
    loss of GDP from piracy
    ……………………. $505,806,352 $2,087,588,540

    (sorry for any formatting glitches)

  3. China? My goodness – could this be the same China that, in the first two weeks of release, have only managed to sell 244 genuine copies of Windows Vista in the whole of the country?!? That’s right – 244! In a nation of over one billion people?!?

  4. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    I’m sure the Chinese people are very nice – most that I have met personally seemed no different than anyone else. However, until their leaders decide that adopting human and civil rights similar to what we have in Canada, I think it would be appropriate to tell them to take a hike. Polietly, of course.

    Stop all trade with China, completely. Curb immigration, completely. Ban Chinese students from Canadian institutions. Ban Chinese vistors to Canada. In fact, pretend China doesn’t even exist on this planet.

    This, of course, would mean that companies like Wal-Mart would simply ship Chinese products to Canada through the USA, which would mean for we Canadians that our beloved cheap goods would be a bit more expensive. It would also serve to kill thousands of jobs in the export sector. So, in the end it’s not a really great move for Canada. However, the ban on immigration and students would likely stir up enough unrest with the Chinese people to… well, in all likelyhood, just get a bunch of Chinese people killed by their leaders.

    Indeed, there is nothing Canada can do about anything China does – except sit back and take it, no matter how unfounded and mean spirited the interactions are. In the end China’s leaders will either “come around” or be overthrown by the people of their country. Historicly speaking, that’s the way these things go. And, if we don’t go picking a fight with them, we should be fine.

  5. Concerned Canadian says:

    Canada losing moral authority
    Moral authority of Canada over China? You could look at the fact that things like rights to housing and food are taken serioiusly in China while Canada ignored every treaty it ever signed to guarantee those. But let’s look instead narrowly at the issue of online messages.

    Why does spam happen?

    If the price of transmitting the message is less than the benefit to be gained minus the actual risk/regret of being caught not fulfilling the promise of the message, or of sending the message itself, the message will be sent. Period.

    It matters not if the message is a penis enlargement offer or an entire Hollywood DVD or an unflattering description of a businessman who meddles in politics and attacks political critics.

    Of all these messages, the latter would be, in most reasonable people’s estimates, the most important to privelege.

    But Canada, which does nothing to protect political speech online, may soon become a conduit for abusive civil lawsuits that expose political dissidents in China, has no right to claim to be an authority on how to behave on matters of restricting messages. On this issue, they are increasingly hard to tell apart. Which will be obvious when a line of Chinese “businessmen” line up to file defamation suits in BC courts against every single critic of the Chinese government.

    For more details on that see Michael’s other column:
    [ link ]
    [ link ]

    And for more details on just how bad Canada’s libel and defamation laws are, see Dan Burnett:
    [ link ]

  6. Tired of being stepped on says:

    Time to regroup
    It bothers me to no end that Canada always seems to happily take the short end of the stick. Whether we are taking it in the rear from our pals down south, or gutting our middle class for cheap products from the corrupt Chinese, we just keep coming back for more. Canada is a peace loving country with all the natural resources. In theory we should hold all the power. Instead of hoping for a weak dollar so the Americans will buy our goods, we should be innovating new technologies and trading with countries who will deal with us fairly. Instead of funding the build up of China and it’s army, we should be buying cheap goods from countries in South & Central America. Obviously if we p-off either one of the 2 major super powers we’ll be in for a rough time, but we can out smart both power hungry countries by diversifying where and who we do business with. I find it hypocritical that it is OK to do business with a corrupt communist China, but Cuba is so taboo….Its time we protect our natural resources. Its also time that we start becoming a World leader in Healthcare, Education, Sciences, Environment, & Engineering to name a few. Reform our immigration to only accept the best and brightest applicants who actually want to live here, instead of just taking advantage of our Passport.