People’s Republic of China President Hu Jintao is coming to the United States next week to meet with President Bush and there have been a variety of public signings of big money Chinese purchasing deals to illustrate what a good trading partner the PRC is for the United States. Part of the public relations push is to provide the impression that the PRC is now serious about intellectual property protection and Microsoft played its own part in that last week. Now comes word that the PRC will be requiring operating systems to be installed on all new PCs:
China’s computer manufacturers must install operating software before their goods leave the factory gates, the latest effort to address the thorny issue of piracy before President Hu Jintao visits the United States.
The order was given in a notice issued jointly by the Ministry of Information Industry, the State Copyright Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce on March 31 and released to reporters on Monday.
Chinese counterfeiting is a major irritant in U.S.-China trade and American software firms have said they want to see progress on the issue at the 2006 meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Washington on Tuesday.
“Computers manufactured within the country’s borders should have pre-installed authorised operating software systems when they leave the factory,” the notice said.
Hu is scheduled to visit Microsoft’s headquarters before he meets President Bush on April 20.
I have to observe that an “authorised operating system” could be just about anything including a free DOS clone with CD driver installed and all ready for a customer to slide in a pirated Windows CD, so without clarification (not to mention enforcement) this new rule is meaningless.