The “Right” to Copy and the “Copyright”: Authenticity, Hybridity, and Cultural Identity
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.
KeywordsChinese Government Cultural Identity Magical Power Colonial Culture Textual Practice
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