Chinese civilization has a long history. The Chinese nation has a vast reservoir of creativity. The brilliant culture created by the Chinese people has exerted a deepgoing influence on the progress of human civilization. Over the past several thousand years, vast numbers of outstanding Chinese scientists, inventors, writers and artists have given the glorious fruits of their mental labour to the development of humanity's common civilization, making enormous contributions.

The intellectual property protection system emerged as a product of the development of human civilization and commodity economy and, in various countries, it has increasingly become an effective legal tool for protecting the interests of the owner of intellectual products, promoting the development of science, technology and the social economy, and allowing international competition. As a whole, China, however, for a variety of historical reasons, began work on its intellectual property rights protection system at a comparatively late date. After China started reform and opening to the outside world, it accelerated the process of establishing an intellectual property rights protection system in order to rapidly develop social productive forces, promote overall social progress, meet the needs of developing a socialist market economy and expedite China's entry into the world economy. Since the end of the 1970s, China has done a tremendous amount of effective work in this field, covering in a little more than a dozen years a distance which took other developed countries scores of years, even a hundred years, establishing a relatively comprehensive legal system for the protection of intellectual property rights, thereby attracting worldwide attention for its achievements not only in establishing the system but also in enforcement.

Today, intellectual property protection is an issue of universal concern in the international political, economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges. International bilateral and multilateral negotiations on this topic, especially the reaching of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), have raised worldwide intellectual property protection to a new level.

In today's world, great importance is attached to intellectual property protection. What is China's specific position regarding this question? What is China's current legislation on intellectual property rights and how is it enforced? What measures has China taken to ensure its international commitment to intellectual property protection? A brief introduction to these issues will prove useful.