Archive for the 'interview' Category

The Story of a Chain Resturant

There is a big chain restaurant company who named itself Eatool. Based in Amilina (a country allowing people eat almost everything except small chicken), Eatool provides delicious meats, including pork, beef and adult chicken. At the same time, it also sells dishware and other stuffs in each of its restaurants.
Few years ago, Eatool opened a new restaurant in Cinet, a country where the king forbid selling pork, as well as chicken.
Personally, Eatool’s boss loves pork, but he knows that selling pork in their Cinet restaurant means shut down the business including the dishware. So they hired Cinet people run the restaurant in Cinet, and restricted themselves from selling pork. At the same time, Eatool sells dishware to Cinetizens.
In Amilina, many gourmets criticized Eatool for years: “Hey, pork is delicious. You should provide pork in Cinet. People in Cinet need pork!”
In the mean time, some people in Cinet also claimed: “Hey, we love pork. Why Eatool, the leader of the world restaurants, compromise to the evil regulation of forbidding pork?”
More profoundly, some thinkers either in Cinet or in Amilina said: “It’s not the matter of pork; it’s the matter of choice. No government should restrict the choice of eating. It’s a natural right to eat anything that a human being wants to!”
The prince of the Cinet asked his father, “Dad, they are criticizing us not allowing pork…”
“Amilina forbid eating the small chicken. Tell me, why?” The King did not answer the question but asked his son.
“Small chicken should be protected because they are young.”
“Yes, but attention, it’s a moral reason, not a logic one. Eating small chicken is sick and lousy, so they prohibited it. They need a moral legitimacy for ruling the country. We need too. So we prohibit chicken. The different is just the level of moral standards.”
“Oh, OK, Dad. But … how do we distinguish youth chicken and adult chicken?”
Moral reasons are mostly not steady, and that uncertainty always good for us. You will know that.”
“Then we prohibit the pork for the moral reason too? “
“You are too young, sometimes naive, my son!” Said the king, “It’s not the matter of choice; it’s the matter of interests. Remember: we are good at cooking beef, not pork. If we approve the pork before prepared, you may not be the next king of Cinet, my dear son! If you want to eat pork, just go Amilina, silently. But back to Cinet, we still cannot approve it. You understood?”
“So we prohibit chicken for the moral reason, but prohibit pork for the interests?”
“Not that simple. People used to reasoning their interests with moral argument. Not only us. You will see it. Anyway, pay attention to the guys who bought Eatool’s dishware specific for cooking the pork.”
The next day, Eatool was criticized in Cinet. The state central TV station blames Eatool providing the chicken, and saying chicken endangered the youth’s health. Under the heavy pressure, Eatool revised its menu, deleted all dishes made by chicken.  
A month later, Eatool suddenly sticked a notice at its shop window:
“we decide to sell the pork in Cinet now! We will discuss this with the king of Cinet. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Eatool at Cinet. But we have decided to do that.”
This is a big news. Journalists throng to the office of Eatool’s headquarter.
– “Why do you sell the pork now?”
“Because someone tried to break our dishware!” The CEO of Eatool said with angry.
– “who?”
“Someone, not sure. They tried to break our dishware! Not only our products, but also many other Amilinan companies’. The attackers are organized!”
– “Government based?”
“Not sure, but the attacks are aiming at the dishware that we made for the clients who argue for the freedom of eating, either in Amilina or in Cinet!”
“Em … what’s the relationship between dishware and pork?”
“Well, they attack the dishware, its violation of human right! We have principle.”
“Sir, I mean, why didn’t you provide pork before, but now change the mind? Can the pork protect the dishware from attacking?”
“Uh … I guess so … attackers may be busy in ~~ eating pork … em … yes, human rights! They are both the matter of human rights, the matter of freedom of Choice.”
– “When you are saying the dishware, what freedom of choice is about to?”
“Uh… uh…, security! The security of dishware! Without security of dishware, how can we eat pork, beef and even chicken? So as I said, the dishware is highly relevant to the pork. We decide to sell pork because they break our dishware!”
Reading Eatool’s notice, a client of Eatool’s Cinet shop cried, “Watch it! It’s the principle! The moral of a company! They decided to provide pork! I love Eatool! I will cross the wall and visit Eatool even it’s Cinet restaurant closed! I will not eat in the King’s restaurant, even beef!”
“How did you get the pork before?” Her mama asked, washing the dishware bought from Eatool.
“Cross the wall and visit Eatool’s restaurant in Amilina.”
“So … there is no difference … By the way, where did you buy and repair this dishware?”
“Eatool’s shop in Cinet of course! They don’t prohibit selling dishware! How dare the King prohibit that!”
“OK, after Eatool closes its restaurant in our country. Where can we repair this dishware?”
“Em… cross the wall. It’s all because of the King! I hate the King!”
“Fine, I am old and poor. I cannot afford such long journey for either pork or beef in Eatool’s restaurant in Amilina. Before you fight the King for the Eatool, can you tell Eatool not to change its principle next time? That’s just like the king.
“No mama, Eatool has principle; it was forced not selling pork!”
“Wash your dishware, dear. Eatool sold you it in Cinet. By the way, I suggest you marry the prince, which makes you eating the pork.”
“NO! I don’t like the prince!”
“OK, OK. Anyway, if you don’t marry the prince nor Eatool, then fight for yourself, for me, for those who cannot afford having diner in Eatool’s restaurant.

An Academic Interview == 一次学术访谈

我按:一位在欧洲做知识产权研究的朋友发给我一些有关中国知识产权执法的问题,以下选取其中一些贴出来。为了方便阅读,他的问题和我的回答都是中英双语的。Note: A friend doing research in Europe sent me some questions on Chinese IP implementation. Here are some selected answers. To facilitate reading, both his questions and my answers are bilingual here.
1. It is in many occasions argued that the confucian philosophy and its impact on the Chinese culture is one of the major factors that IPRs in China are so hard to implement. This doctrine argues that if one want to achieve excellence, he must imitate the works of the one who is doing the best work in that specific field. What are your views on this explanation on IPRs infringements?

From my experience, confusian philosophy can be a reason on why the contemporary IP law did not emerged in China but in western world, nevertheless it is hard to say that Confucianism is of a mjor factor affecting the implementation of Chinese IP Law. Although Confucianism did agree with the doctine you mentioned, it is a world wide accepted view but not only in Chinese philosophy. The international IP regime does not refuse the imitation of the best work but only prohibit those unlawful imitation. Imputing the pervasive IP infringements to the confucianism needs more empirical evidences.

2. The communist heritage is also one of the common explanations why the Chinese have such a hard time to cope with western views on IPRs. (The name of the Chinese Communist Party in chinese, Gong Chan Dang = the public property party). What are your views on this ideological explanation?

Communist ideology comes from western world also. It is too simplified to illustrate communism by its name directly. In my knowledge, the classical communist ideology that affected Chinese regime composed of three branches: dialectical materialism philosophy, Marxism political economy and Leninism. Chinese communist party claimed that it has developed them in the practice of Chinese revolution and construction. There might be some slogans, theories and regulations before 1980s are expressed anti-IPRs, but we never know whether they generally come from communism or not if we do not analize them with the social background at the time specifically.

3. The Chinese often claim that they take the problem seriously, and do all within their power to crack down on piracy. Is this in your view true? What could they do more?

Yes, as to the piracy (if we distinct the piracy from the infringement), I think the administrative orgnization has tried them best in cracking down on piracy. The problem is: the standards are often too strict (or too inefficient or unreasonable in their legislative technique) to be implemented. So the public organizations can only choose some cases to investigate and punish. This is a tragic situation to the rule of law. Hence what could the Chinese authrities should do are mainly on reviewing the exsiting regulations and policies and improving the legislative techniques, but not simply promulgate new regulations which may sounds advanced. Release the unecessary burdens to the entities in ecnomic practice should be of another focus.

4. The U.S. (or Hollywood, Microsoft and the US medical industry) are currently filing a lawsuit against China at the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, because they feel that China has not done enough on IPR infringements. Do you think that western countries have unrealistic expectations of the Chinese government’s ability to reduce piracy?
Yes, I agree with this point. Not only China, no government in this world can reduce the piracy soly by promulgating strict laws and punishing those illegal practices. The WTO dispute settlement body is good at solving specific trade disputes but not at improving general systematic situation of a regime.