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China Aims to Become Role Model in Fight Against Piracy

China says it wants to become an Asia-Pacific model in the fight against theft of intellectual property rights. The announcement came in Shanghai at a two-day forum on curbing cross-border piracy.

Jeff Hardee, the Asia-Pacific director of Business Software Alliance, says nine out of 10 software programs in China last year were pirated - compared to only 53 percent illegal ones in the rest of the region.

Mr. Hardee says China needs better enforcement of copyright laws and education of the public if it wants to become a role model in the fight against piracy.

"Even if they [China's national copyright administration] do a raid, there are no fines. So where's the deterrent?" said Mr. Hardee. "A lot depends on political will. If a government decides it is going to commit the resources to fight piracy, they can be successful. It doesn't have to take years and years."

Meanwhile, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Pacific Rim leaders meeting in Chile last week that China's economy will not overheat. He repeated promises to ease tight controls on China's currency. The country's trading partners complain the renminbi is undervalued, making Chinese exports unfairly inexpensive.

Hong Kong's financial secretary, Henry Tang, says the territory's economy will hit its 7.5 percent growth target set for this year.

Grace Ng, an economist at J.P. Morgan, says China has contributed to Hong Kong's bullish forecast - particularly through tourism. "We see China as a positive factor in the sense of not only the kind of tourism related support, but also the soft landing of the economy as well as the expected appreciation of the renminbi being supportive of capital flow into Hong Kong," he said. "Hong Kong is definitely the first stop to benefit in the medium term."

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, has agreed to allow its workers in China to join the state-controlled trade union. The move comes after China threatened to blacklist Wal-Mart and other foreign firms that do not comply. Independent trade unions are illegal in China.