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US interference in WIPO election ugly: Editorial

Post Time:2020-03-06 Source:chinadaily.com.cn Author: Views:

Procedural justice is a principle that has always been championed not just in judicial affairs but also in politics in the West. Yet in its attempt to block China's candidate from being elected the head of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations agency charged with protecting intellectual property and promoting innovation, the United States is obviously going against this principle.

A close-door vote by WIPO member states will be held on March 4 to 5 to decide who will replace Francis Gurry of Australia as WIPO's director-general. China's Wang Binying is one of the six candidates in the running, the other five are from Colombia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Peru and Singapore. Having served as deputy chief of WIPO for a decade, Wang is obviously considered a strong candidate.

However, in an opinion piece published in The Financial Times, Peter Navarro who is an assistant to the US president and director of the US Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, wrote that "giving control of WIPO to a representative of China would be a terrible mistake".

Well-known to be a China hawk, he even alleged a Chinese "gambit to gain control over 15 specialized agencies of the UN", noting that China already has leadership of four of those, while no other country leads more than one.

The US even warned some of the medium and small countries not to vote for China or they will face consequences such as weakened relations with the US or losing access to World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans.

There is no reason for the US to politicize the normal selection of WIPO head, which will only do a disservice to the work of the organization. The UN is not an arena for a political fight but an international body where solutions can be sought to complicated international issues.

China has no ambition or strategy to seek dominance over the UN organizations. It has gained clout in the international community that is compatible with what it has done as a responsible major power.

There is a striking contrast between what China has done, in terms of aid to poor countries and contributions to world peace as well as to the fight against climate change, and the US unilateral slogan of "America first" and its withdrawal from international organizations and multilateral treaties.

China does need to catch up in terms of protection of intellectual property and it has been making unremitting efforts in that direction. Should its own representative head WIPO, it would only further promote its IPR protection endeavor.

What the US has done amounts to interference with the procedure of the WIPO selection of its new head. That it shows no compunction to proceed with what it is doing only verifies the fact that it is none other than a hegemon, which shows no respect for rules and justice.