By Rei Tanotsuka, 18 July 2019
Not one person who is in full possession of their faculties, would ever look at in infant and quibble,
“Stop copying! Do things in your own unique way……I see you making a mistake in your crawl, I think you just want to milk this phase for all its got…..You crying now? Ok, sanction! And! Why can’t you stop playing with toys? Why aren’t you looking to be gainfully employed???”
Sounds like the cry of a prominent village character right? So, why are we doing this to China?
In the world of Japanese martial arts, lie the philosophy of learning. There are 3 immutable steps in the metamorphosis of a student to a master.
- shu (守) “protect”, “obey”- traditional wisdom being the guide to absorbing the art. This requires one to copy and mimic to build the foundation pertaining to the art.
- ha (破) “detach”, “digress”- modifying or tweeking the traditional art.
- ri (離) “leave”, “separate” – the point where one breaks down the art by its principles and reinterprets the art to fully integrate the self into the craft – innovation.
The West has been viewing China through 4K resolution images to scrutinise every advancement China makes, while judging its own myopic moves through a pair of presbyopia lens. No wonder mainstream media can always find fault with China, but see very few blemishes on the West.
Assessing China’s SHU against a developed nation’s RI
Using common sense and logic alone, one would never draw conclusions about an infant or even a teen, based on their current personality or temperament. We know that they are liable to have experiences which will allow them to emerge as an adult who can be substantially different to the tantrum throwing toddler you now see. We also embrace that the odd dalliance with Mr Daniels, having a puff of smoke and staying out past curfew is concomitant with simply growing up. We don’t incarcerate them for life based on a process that most will go through. Most think this is obvious, but considering the vitriol hurled towards China, you could have fooled me!
Unless you have been living on the dwarf planet Pluto, you can’t help but know the debacle involving Huawei.
Ren Zhengfei the founder, started this telecommunication Comoran in 1987 and he had one goal. To survive.
I have watched countless interviews on Ren and you can not help but think, he is one top notch visionary. He exercises humility when talking about his achievements and gives off the vibe of someone who still goes to the neighbourhood hawkers, orders up a bowl of noodles, a cup o coffee and spins a yarn with the locals. Nothing about him gives off any sentiment of airs and graces. Personality aside, what’s up with the biz?
Let’s address the main IP (Intellectual property theft) issue that envelopes Huawei.
When Huawei was at its infancy, it was embroiled in a few legal skirmishes regarding IP theft with a few big names in the industry, Cisco, T mobile and Motorola. There are two versions of these accounts with recriminations going back and forth, and since I am not an IP specialist, nor particularly well versed in the intricacies of source codes, I will refrain from passing judgement.
However, for arguments sake, let’s work on the assumption that Huawei did in fact infringe upon the IP of all those companies. Would it be reasonable to assess its phase in SHU as representative of its model of conduct in its RI?
If we work from this base of an IP poaching Huawei against Cisco in 2004, to the current standing of Huawei, it seems to have metamorphosised into quite a butterfly.
” Huawei serves 35 of the world’s top 50 telcom operators with over one billion users worldwide. The company has over 87,500 employees, of whom 43% are dedicated to R&D, and had revenues of $23.3bn in 2008, a 46% increase over 2007. Huawei is an active participant in many networking standards organizations and had filed 35,773 patent applications as of December 2008. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Huawei was ranked as the largest applicant under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty, with 1,737 applications in 2008. “ANAQUA. The latest figures have Huawei holding more than 56,000 patents now.
I would not even argue that Huawei has reached its RI yet, more like approaching its HA. Ren knows that the future focus areas for R&D should include statistics to be applied in mathematics and neurology in terms of AI development. He also emphatically believes that new discoveries in basic science is paramount, not only in benefiting Huawei, but in furthering humankind’s leap. Watch from 9:50
I think when Huawei reaches it’s RI, it will form a new paradigm on what big corporations should really be about – helping people to develop their potential rather than be driven by fiat. Jack Ma is another visionary, and if you have the chance, watch his videos for a dose of inspiration!
Next, a little digression…….
WTO Happy Snaps!
Because I hear ad nauseam, how China keeps breaking all these WTO rules, I decided to check for myself if this was an urban legend or a legitimate concern. So I went to the WTO site to check the catalogue of disputes regarding the controversial IP theft allegations.
I found 2 cases related to IP or Technology Transfers with China as the respondent. They are as follows: to go see the cases yourself, click here.
- DS549, 1/6/18 between EU and China. It remains unsettled, with Taipei, US and Japan joining the fun.
- DS542, 23/3/18 between the US and China. This is where it’s at. ” On 3 June 2019, the United States requested the panel to suspend its proceedings until 31 December 2019. On 4 June 2019, China agreed with the United States’ request. In response to a query from the panel, the parties stated that the panel should consider this request as one made pursuant to Article 12.12 of the DSU. On 12 June 2019, the panel informed the DSB of its decision to grant the United States’ request and suspend its work. In its communication the Panel noted that pursuant to Article 12.12 of the DSU, the authority of the panel shall lapse after 12 months of the suspension of its work.
The summary is, there are no concrete decisions on these 2 cases. With some of other non IP related cases, when called out, China has agreed to amend its current practices to conform to the WTO standards. How quickly these changes can take place in such a vast nation remains to be seen. There is no antagonism towards abiding by the rules from China’s end as far as I can see.
WTO Fun Stuff
The first WTO dispute was lodged on 10 January 1995 and the last case I got access to, was filed on 5 July 2019. A total of 586 cases. I thought, wouldn’t it be a hoot to simply tally up a ‘who is dissin who’ list? So I counted how many times the US, India, China and Australia got fingers pointed at them by their peers to pick a winner. Remember, China joined a little late because it was only initated to the WTO in 2001, but here is the winner of the 2019 Got a Smackdown? Champ!……Drumroll!
Yes, the first prize of course goes to the World’s liberator, the bi polar US of A! It was ratted on by different nations for a total of 156 times. The first runner up naturally goes to China at 44 tirades. Next we have India with 30 eye rolls and finally my home country, Koala’s Ville at 16! Great work everyone! No need to make a speech, save it for your WTO rebuttal.
I did notice that the first case against China was made in 2004, a year where you see the trade surplus with the US begin to accelerate. We could argue that this is the time the US began to see China as threat, or we could say that with increased imports to the US, more problems crop up.
High Double Standards – It’s either on or off
I have always wondered how we in the West can forgive and forget Western corporations that exploit Asian labour during their SHU, such as Nike, Apple and Walmart by allowing sweatshop factory conditions to thrive and populate, yet we feel the greatest indignation when Chinese corporations exploit Western minds for their rise. We either condemn both with equal venom, laced with punitive sanctions and entity listings, or we both turn a blind eye. Are you getting the whip or the eye patch?