I appreciate the efforts made by "China's piracy plague" (News: Analysis & Commentary, June 5) to investigate the counterfeit problem in China. The report argues that "weak rule of law" and "insufficient enforcement" worsens the counterfeit problem, but it fails to recognize that legislation and enforcement have improved in China, especially recently. In 1999, Chinese authorities investigated and brought into court 1,810 cases of counterfeiting foreigner-owned trademarks, a 44% increase over the year before. And last month, Todd Dickinson, director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, praised China's achievement during his meeting with Jiang Yin, administrator of China's State Intellectual Property Office.

I agree that some businesses may feel it is harder than before to deal with counterfeiting, although the overall situation has been improved. One of the main reasons is that the booming Chinese economy makes more capital and better technology available, which may also better enable some counterfeiters. Besides, sometimes the improvement of rule of law may ironically make it harder to prosecute and convict a counterfeiter, since China has adopted a more highly developed system to prevent law-enforcement authorities from abusing their power. But in the long run, it is the law-abiding businesses that will benefit the most from a booming economy and the improved rule of law.

The Chinese market may be like a girl in her teenage stage--acquiring some aggressive behaviors but heading for maturity very fast. The authors made a mistake when they doubted whether it is the right time to invest in China now. If you idle when a girl is growing into a lady, you may lose the best opportunity to win her love.

Larry Xianghong Wu

Office of Science & Technology

Embassy of China

Washington

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