China’s system of censorship and weak protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) mean many Taiwanese creative and cultural companies face serious difficulties in their forays into the Chinese market.
Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said that the Ministry of Culture is seeking to establish a “public authority-to-public authority” platform with its Chinese counterpart to discuss and resolve issues related to cultural exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
If all goes well, Lung said, the ministry will host a cross-strait cultural forum in Taipei in September to discuss these issues.
“We want direct talks between cultural officials from both sides,” Lung said, adding that this could “facilitate solutions to problems involving IPR protection and freedom of expression for our performing artists and cultural workers when they are working in China.”
“We have put forward a list of issues that we hope to negotiate on,” Lung added.
Saying that cross-strait cultural exchanges have faced many hindrances and bottlenecks, Lung added that the two sides need to sit down to talk.
“We must work to resolve the issues one by one to protect the legitimate rights and interests of our artists and creative industry companies working in China,” Lung said.
The ministry cannot sit on its hands and leave Taiwanese cultural workers to deal with the Chinese authorities and competitors unassisted, she added.
The agenda for the September forum would include the creation of an institutionalized mechanism for talks on stumbling blocks to cross-strait cultural exchanges, pushing China to offer greater market access to Taiwanese cultural and creative industry operators and easing censorship.
Lung said her ministry will urge its Chinese counterpart to enhance transparency in publication and film censorship and strengthen IPR protection.
“We will lobby the Chinese culture ministry to set up a ‘fast track’ window for screening the work of our creative and cultural workers in a transparent manner,” Lung said.
The ministry will also push Beijing to exempt Taiwanese non-ideological cultural products from censorship and allow their launch in selected cities and experimental zones without restrictions.
The forum would hopefully pave the way for the culture ministry to dispatch its staff members to work in the Straits Exchange Foundation’s planned branch office in China to offer legal counseling and administrative coordination, Lung said.
Lung said her ministry will give priority to the interests of cultural and creative industries in negotiating with its Chinese counterpart in a pragmatic manner.
“The two sides are talking about establishing an institutionalized dialogue platform to better protect freedom of expression of our artists working in China and their intellectual property rights,” Lung said.
The forum will be a channel for direct “culture ministry-to-culture ministry” dialogue, with officially authorized representatives taking part, Lung said.
“We also look forward to inviting Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu (蔡武) to visit Taiwan,” she added.