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The Cold War Mentality Is Outdated and Politicizing WIPO's Election Is Against the Will of Peoples ---by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa

On March 4-5, the World Intellectual Property Organization (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 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 Apparently, those US politicians are still obsessed with the outdated “zero-sum game” Cold-War mentality.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 has 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.

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