The big lie of ‘intellectual property theft’

One of the big lies bandied about these days is that China has been engaged in systemic and substantial ‘intellectual property theft’. Say it often enough and people will believe it – as Goebbels pointed out many years ago.

I leave aside the obvious points: that this is the usual practice of all big business and commercial research; that the United States is the past master at such practices, let alone Europe – most of their breakthroughs in the past were by foreigners, who willingly or willingly gave up these breakthroughs (think of Einstein, for example); that the idea of knowledge that benefits human beings is ‘private property’ is the most perverse idea of all.

Instead, I am interested in the rather obvious Orientalism of this accusation. To wit, China and its people – so the accusation would have us believe – do not have the wherewithal to make their own discoveries. For some, they are clearly ‘stupid people’ who have to steal other people’s ideas.

Nice one.

I cannot help wondering whether this accusation applies to the historical discoveries of paper, printing press, compass and gunpowder, which Europe ‘appropriated’ late in the piece.

Or whether it applies to the more than 1.3 million patents lodged by Chinese inventors in 2017, more than the Unites States, Europe, Japan and South Korea combined.

Or indeed to recent breakthroughs, such as the world’s first successful sending of a quantum message into space and the first successful 5G phone call.

Or to the fact that coming to China now feels like stepping into the future, where so much is the reality of an everyday life that is yet to be found elsewhere.

Obviously, socialists with Chinese characteristics must have ‘stolen’ such ideas from the future, or perhaps from aliens.

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7 thoughts on “The big lie of ‘intellectual property theft’

  1. Dear Roland,

    With the recent passing of the Rev. Billy Graham (recent being February), have you considered writing a short post about Graham and Kim Il-Sung’s interesting relationship, perhaps a miniature extract from you upcoming book ‘Red Theology’?

    Regards,
    Jackson

  2. after travelling through asia i realised the west stole 90 percent of what it “invented” then setup a patent office to protect the rights while asia was fighting colloniasm by foriegn invaders, they no longer had the infrastructure to protect this new facade of protecting inventions. Now that asia has managed to peacfully get back to where it was 100years later it has setup its own patent offices and the truth is becoming evident and the west doesn’t like it. china and india are indiventing so many things it puts the west to shame. we live in an unfair world where the true intellects are never rewarded only the thieves. it is important every country has the right to thier own patent offices. let the patents speak without these allegations of theft. typical western media accusations. racist with a gullable, hateful population.

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