Wang Binying is vying for the position of Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization. File picture: Yang Guanyu/Xinhua
Wang Binying is vying for the position of Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization. File picture: Yang Guanyu/Xinhua

Politicising the WIPO election goes against the will of the people

By Lin Songtian, Ambassador of China to South Africa Time of article published Mar 3, 2020

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On March 4-5, the World  Intellectual Property Organizat ion (WIPO) will vote to elect  its next Director-General.

Wang Binying, the current Deputy Director- General of WIPO nominated by China, and  five other candidates from Colombia, Ghana,  Kazakhstan, Peru and Singapore are now  vying for the post.

It is unfortunate to see that US Secretary of  State Mike Pompeo claimed that “it is absurd  to let China lead an organization that rolls out  cross-border intellectual property policy”.

Peter Navarro, Director of the Office of Trade  and Manufacturing Policy in the White House  published an article on the Financial Times,  saying that “China should not be allowed to  control WIPO”. Former US National Security  Advisor John Bolton even claimed on his  Twitter account that “if China cannot be transparent  on such a critical issue as the coronavirus,  we certainly cannot believe that they can  protect US innovation. That’s why the Chinese  candidate cannot become the Director-General  of WIPO”.

The United States has also spared no effort to  pressure some countries to give up supporting  the Chinese candidate, and even threatened  and coerced them by such dishonorable means  as stopping offering aid. In doing so, the US  is attempting to turn the highly professional  international election into a political farce and  doing its utmost to support its own puppet.

Is this in line with the spirit of democratic and  free election that the United States has always  advocated? It is nothing but a shame.

The words and deeds of those US politicians  are obviously ideologically-motivated and  politically-biased. Under the disguise of  attacking China, they are actually interfering in  China’s internal affairs and the normal operation  of international organizations. 

Apparently,  those US politicians are still obsessed with  the outdated “zero-sum game” Cold-War  mentality. The times have changed! The  world has changed! China has changed! The  Chinese people and peoples around the world  have already seen through the ill intentions  and despicable attempts of those anti-China  forces in the United States. 

Obviously, their  attacks on China’s so called “opaque” epidemic  prevention and control measures will have no  market.  Facts speak louder than words and  justice will prevail. 

After the outbreak of the  COVID-19, General Secretary Xi Jinping  personally commanded and deployed the  nationwide battle against the epidemic. The  Chinese government has adopted the most  comprehensive, rigorous, thorough and  effective national joint prevention and  control measures to resolutely curb the  spread of the COVID-19 in China and out  of China. We have also effectively cut off the  spread of the epidemic to other countries, thus  protecting the life and health of not only the  Chinese people but also all peoples around the  world. 

We are proud to say that China has set a  new standard for the global response to public  health emergencies.

Meanwhile, acting with an open, transparent  and responsible attitude, the Chinese  government has proactively carried out  information exchange and cooperation with the  WHO and the international community without  reservation. We have identified and shared  with the WHO the whole genome sequences  of virus strains in the shortest possible time,  and successfully developed rapid detection  kits and shared them with the WHO and  developing countries in Africa. We have invited  the WHO experts, including American experts,  to visit China and swiftly put in place a joint
prevention and control system and working  mechanism. 

After the WHO team of experts  visited the front-line of the anti-epidemic  battle in China, WHO Director-General Hon.  Tedros appreciated China’s highly responsible  attitude, and thanked China for gaining time for  global epidemic prevention and control efforts  and setting a new standard and model for  global epidemic prevention; Bruce Aylward,  the head of the China-WHO COVID-19 joint  investigation group, declared that China is the
most experienced and successful country in the  global response to COVID-19, and all countries  shall learn from China’s aggressive response
mechanism.

By contrast, in the United States, six months  after the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza  epidemic in 2009, the national emergency was  declared. As a result, the epidemic was spread  to 214 countries and regions, causing 61 million  infections and nearly 300,000 deaths globally.

According to the report from US Center for  Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during  the influenza season from October 1, 2019  to January 25, 2020, there were 19 million  infections and at least 10,000 deaths in the  US. From 2010 to 2019, more than 37,000  Americans died of influenza every year.

With such a poor record, it is really a shame  and pity to see that those Americans still  dare to keep talking about human rights and  transparency.

The election of WIPO’s Director General  should be a serious and fair competition among  property rights professionals, and the key point  is to judge the comprehensive capability and  competitiveness of the candidates. However,  the United States has turned this into a political 
game, and rallied other Western allies and pro- Western forces to try every means to block the  election of the Chinese candidate, Ms. Wang
Binying, so as to firmly control WIPO for long.

I believe that no developing countries will  accept such a political plot of certain Western  countries.

China has become a leading country in terms  of innovation and intellectual property rights  protection, contributing more than 30% of  world economic growth annually since 2008.

The number of R & D personnel in China ranks  first in the world. China’s R & D expenditure  has increased by 17% annually from 2006 to  2018, ranking second in the world. China has  become one of the countries with the fastest  growing innovation capability in the world.

The Chinese candidate Ms. Wang Binying has  worked for WIPO for nearly 30 years, serving  as Senior Adviser to the Office of the Director  General, Director of the Bureau of Strategic  Planning and Policy Development, Executive  Director of Administrative Management and  General Assembly Affairs, Assistant Director  General and Deputy Director General. She  has outstanding capabilities in managing and
handling complex affairs, and enjoys a high  reputation in the international intellectual  property community and within WIPO. She  is well recognized as the most experienced,  capable and competitive candidate.

Ms. Wang Binying is the best candidate  for WIPO Director-General and is fully  capable of leading WIPO to promote the  balanced and effective development of the  international intellectual property cause  and the implementation of the Sustainable  Development Goals by 2030. Additionally,
there has been no female leader in WIPO’s  history, and Wang’s election will help to  promote gender equality in the leading posts  of international organizations and meet the  common expectations of the international  community. 

Ms. Wang Binying attaches great  importance to the development of intellectual  property rights in Africa and the developing  countries, and actively promotes WIPO and  China to increase technical assistance to Africa  so as to support the development of property  rights in Africa and the developing countries.

Ms. Wang Binying not only represents China,  but also represents Africa and the developing  countries at large. Wang’s election will inject  new ideas and impetus into WIPO, greatly  promote the development of intellectual  property rights in developing countries, Africa  in particular, and help developing countries  with industrialization, IT application and  modernization, so as to deliver more benefits  to more countries and peoples in the world. 

We have full confidence in Ms. Wang  Binying’s ability and due respect for all the  candidates from other countries for a fair  election. 

All countries are sovereign states and  have the right to decide independently on their  votes in accordance with their own national  interests. China believes that all countries  that uphold justice will resolutely resist such  self-willed, hegemonic and undemocratic  acts of the United States and make their  wise choices.

* His Excellency  Lin Songtian is Ambassador of China to South Africa

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