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The “Right” to Copy and the “Copyright”: Authenticity, Hybridity, and Cultural Identity

  • Lingchei Letty Chen

Abstract

The reality and consequences of globalization1 are once again confirmed by the outbreak of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, otherwise known as SARS. It first began in November 2002 in Guangdong Province of southern China. Within the space of six months, SARS spread to more than twenty-six countries and created worldwide fear of this unknown and highly contagious virus. The Beijing city government’s misjudgment of this incident—treating it as a regional problem and underreporting the cases— quickly turned the Chinese government into the target of international condemnation. The Chinese government’s early reaction to and measures taken toward the disease when it first appeared in Guangdong are consistent with its past when faced with a potential source of social instability. It has been the political and historical instinct of the Chinese government to want to exert control on the one hand and to protect its international image (“to preserve face”) on the other. The Chinese government’s early decision to suppress the news might have helped maintain domestic sociopolitical and economic stability. However, the Chinese government overlooked the degree to which the world has been globalized and how closely China is tied to the global network. So, what seemed to be a safe decision at first turned out to be a horrible mistake that cost the Chinese government its credibility both domestically and internationally, as well as initiating an enormous economic setback.

Keywords

Chinese Government Cultural Identity Magical Power Colonial Culture Textual Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    The term “globalization” is so commonly heard nowadays that it almost requires us to revisit the question: What is globalization? John Beynon and David Dunkerley, editors of Globalization: The Reader (New York: Routledge, 2000), begin the book by citing the “love bug” incident that took place on May 4, 2000. This incident involves a computer virus contained in an e-mail entitled “I Love You” that was sent out from Manila. Within hours, as people in Europe woke up and started to open their e-mails, the virus spread from computer to computer like wild fire. Not only were millions of computers in Europe infected by this virus, computers in other parts of the world were also disabled by it. Financial and personal losses caused by this “love bug” were enormous. This example demonstrates one of the many facets of “globalization”; but most importantly it illustrates this “interconnectedness” we have come to find ourselves in not only on the intercontinental and international levels, but also on the interpersonal level.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Gopal Balakrishnan, “Virgilian Visions,” new left reviews, 5 (Sept.–Oct. 2000): 143.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?” Critical Inquiry, vol. 17, no. 20 (Winter 1991): 354.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Jeff MacGregor, “Copying Copies: Stardom to Celebrity,” March 19, 2000, Sec. 2: 27.Google Scholar
  5. 24.
    Ian Adam and Helen Tiffin, eds. Introduction, Past the Last Post: Theorizing Post-Colonialism and Post-Modernism (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1990), xi.Google Scholar
  6. 27.
    Robert J. C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race (New York & London: Routledge, 1995), 22.Google Scholar
  7. Part II The IssuesGoogle Scholar

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© Lingchei Letty Chen 2006

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  • Lingchei Letty Chen

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