When exactly did China start to reverse engineer, make copies of, and hack into US intellectual properties?

Why didn't the US administrations before Trump bring this topic to the front?

  • 2
    These are two separate questions, and depending on the answer to the first one, the second may be rendered completely moot (i.e. if they only started doing it during the Trump administration (which I honestly doubt, but it's worth considering the possibility), then the topic wouldn't have existed during those previous administrations).
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 8 at 9:30
  • chinese collective culture finds it crazy that one couldn't share or reproduce a good idea in front of their face, so they've been "copying" since first contact.
    – dandavis
    Apr 10 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


Obama (And I assume other administrations) did deal with the issues with China as an important issue.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will continue to press China on its currency, protection of intellectual property and state-owned businesses, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday ahead of bilateral trade talks next week.

“The key with China is to continue to simply press them on those areas where trade is imbalanced, whether it’s on their currency practices, whether it’s on IP (intellectual property) protection, whether it’s on their state-owned enterprises,” he said at a meeting of the President’s Export Council.


Informal answer: China has always hacked. Furthermore, this happens everywhere, and human nature does not suggest China being an exception.

China became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1980. This indicates the timestamp when intellectual property officially began to be seen as such.

The former Democrat administration followed the idea of intercontinental cooperation:

Finally, we’re taking more steps to expand the connections between our two peoples.

As this speech does not address piracy at all, in spite of naming differences, it can be assumed that the topic was intentionally left out.


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