Unexpected Win by Facebook in China

Originally posted 2018-11-19 10:38:35

china ban

By Heba Munir | Editor: Kristen Daly | www.amdlawgroup.com

Modern society has become extremely dependent on social media, allowing it to consume and impact people’s everyday lives. Now, imagine a society where social media is restricted in order for the government to limit speech and awareness on issues within that respected society. There is a glaring juxtaposition between a society that has restricted social media and a society that is liberated from that constraint. With such freedom of speech comes immense power.

In Western society in particular, social media platforms have great impact. By shifting the focus to a society that most would consider developed but remains so isolated in relation to the world and to its own people, one can understand the significance in the societal contrasts. The society that spotlights this kind of isolation is China. Located in East Asia, the communist government that runs China is infamous for its need to control and sensor its citizens. This is done in order for the government, ironically named the People’s Republic of China, to maintain power over its people.

Now how does all of this relate to Facebook? Currently, Facebook is banned in China, but has recently made an unexpected win. The win occurred when, according to Mechie Mendoza’s “Facebook Scores Rare Trademark Victory in China”, “Beijing’s Higher People’s Court ruled in its favor against a local company that used ‘face book’ on its beverage product.” What is the significance of this ruling? Reuter’s, “Facebook beverages won’t be a thing in China” emphasized the idea that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has been trying to reach China’s market and this may be a sign of progress.

Zuckerberg previously met with China’s propaganda tsar in attempts to sway Chinese officials towards allowing Facebook in China. Although it has not happened, hopes of it happening in the future remain; and this win has augmented that hope. This win itself highlights the grounds upon which trademark infringement can make or break a relationship. Zuckerberg would not have such high hopes for China introducing Facebook in the future if he did not have this win with the Higher People’s court behind him. If Zuckerberg had not taken the initiative to meet and connect with Chinese officials, thereby showing them true hospitality, a highly valued tradition in Chinese culture, this win might not have happened.

In International Law, one hopes that everyone of all nations would be treated equally. Yet, it would be unrealistic to not consider that both internationally and locally people are not treated as equals, due to race, ethnicity, favoritism, etc. So the question arises: what steps can be taken to make equality under the law a reality?

Image Link: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/05/23/china-mulls-new-ways-control-video-websites


“Facebook Beverages Won’t Be a Thing in China after Rare Trademark Win. “Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 09 May 2016. Web. 19 July 2016

Mendoza, Menchie. “Facebook Scores Rare Trademark Victory In China: No ‘Face Book’ Allowed.” Tech Times RSS. Tech Times, 09 May 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.