China must clamp down on illegal broadcasts of foreign music, movies and television shows, European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said in Beijing Wednesday (Nov. 8).

China must clamp down on illegal broadcasts of foreign music, movies and television shows, European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said in Beijing Wednesday (Nov. 8).

Mandelson slammed Beijing for failing to ensure China's state television and karaoke bars paid royalties to European copyright holders. "Chinese broadcasters like CCTV do not pay royalties to EU copyright holders," he said.

Chinese law provided for such payments since 2001 but no fees have ever been set and no royalties ever enforced. Mandelson said Chinese promises that the law would be clarified by the end of 2006 have now been rescinded. "I would like to see a strong public declaration by the Chinese government that they want to see the appropriate royalty payments being made in the future, without turning a blind eye to their non-payment as has been the case in the past," he said.

Mandelson -- who raised the issue of copyright violations with Chinese commerce minister Bo Xilai and Vice Premier Wu Yi -- said much more was needed to criminalize counterfeiting-related offences, often neglected by local police and courts. He called for lower thresholds for prosecutable intellectual property offences, tougher sentencing of offenders, and action in cleaning up street markets.

Earlier, European officials signed an agreement to provide technical help to a newly established network of 50 government offices throughout China that will receive and investigate complaints of copyright violations.