International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Norm Diffusion or Mercantilist Imperatives? Understanding the Politics of China’s Intellectual Property Transition
Yvette TO

As part of its national strategy to promote indigenous innovation and to develop an innovative economy, the Chinese government has adopted a series of policy initiatives since the beginning of market reforms to strengthen intellectual property (IP) standards and enforcement. Some interpret these reforms as the result of international norm diffusion; others see them reflecting the success of foreign pressures at work over the last few decades. Examining various shifts and outcomes in China’s IP policies between 1978 and 2015, this paper critiques the constructivist analytical framework of norm diffusion and international socialisation, and argues that more attention needs to be paid to the effects of structural forces within the global economy, China’s capitalist transition, and various competing, capital-seeking imperatives that influence the direction and implementation of China’s IP policies. At different stages of China’s development, IP serves different purposes for political elites and powerful corporate players.

Full Text: PDF