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Commentary: Washington's accusing China of "forced technology transfer" not grounded in facts

(Xinhua)    09:58, October 16, 2018

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- In its recent round of mud-slinging against China, the United States has once again resorted to such hackneyed charges as "forced technology transfer" and "intellectual property theft."

Those allegations are detached from the facts, insulting to China's technological achievements, and nothing but a pretext for the global hegemon to stymie the ascent of the world's largest developing country.

China's remarkable scientific and technological development allows no belittlement. It stems from the hard work of generation after generation of Chinese researchers, and benefits from international cooperation under the country's long-standing opening-up policy.

China has indeed learnt a great deal from developed countries, but that is just like what the United States did from the 19th century to World War II, when it attracted talents from across the world and acquired advanced technologies from Europe.

Nowadays, the United States outperforms other countries in basic research, while China excels in applied research. That is the reasonable result of the two countries' respective strengths in talents, markets and other resources.

However, in a major speech on Washington's China policy earlier this month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recycled the repeatedly disproved claim that China has been forcing foreign companies to transfer technology and stealing intellectual property.

The accusation is so groundless that even sober minds in the United States are not buying it. Larry Summers, a former U.S. Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and an economic advisor to Barack Obama, said in June that China's technological progress is coming from "terrific entrepreneurs who are getting the benefit of huge government investments in basic science," and "an educational system that's privileging excellence, concentrating on science and technology, ... not from taking a stake in some U.S. company."

In a recent hearing held by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regarding proposed tariffs on Chinese products, many U.S. companies testified that they had never been forced to transfer any technology to Chinese entities.

Meanwhile, as witnessed by the international community, China has made great strides in formulating and improving its laws and regulations on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in recent years.

World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry said just two months ago that in the past 40 years, China has established a high-level IPR protection system that regards intellectual property as the driving force for innovation and economic development and treats Chinese and foreign companies equally.

Without any doubt, technology transfer abounds between Chinese and foreign entities, but that is rooted in the transferring parties' pursuit of maximum profits.

As a matter of fact, U.S. companies have made huge gains in China over recent years from technology transfer and licensing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, China paid 7.95 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 and 8.76 billion dollars in 2017 to the United States for the use of intellectual property.

Thus, such condemnation of normal commercial practices is a mockery of the spirit of contract. More ironically, one of Washington's frequently used weapons to curb other countries' development is to impose high-tech export bans.

Authoritative research reports have repeatedly suggested that should the United States relax its strict restrictions on high-tech exports to China, its trade deficits would decrease significantly. But Washington has continued to be obstinate.

As many have pointed out, the ongoing trade frictions between China and the United States betray Washington's anxiety over China's increasing scientific and technological strength.

That angst is self-inflicted. Beijing is committed to peaceful development and win-win cooperation. What's more, if China and the United States, the top two economies and investors in scientific and technological research on the planet, can join forces, the whole world will benefit, including both countries.

Given that, it is high time that Washington abandon its zero-sum mentality and embark upon the path of win-win cooperation instead.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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