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Thursday, February 10, 2005

When Wu-Tang Meets WTO 

Here's one unexpected result of China's accession to the WTO [via the New York Times]:
For the monks who run Shaolin, the explosive popularity of Shaolin kung fu has not been without problems. For one, anyone vaguely familiar with Chinese martial arts and with a little bit of business sense, here or abroad, can hang up a shingle claiming to run a Shaolin kung fu school.

The temple's leaders say they have had enough of this debasement, and have persuaded the Chinese government to declare the name a recognized brand, protecting it under the rules of the World Trade Organization.
I'm uncertain whether this is the same sort of geographical branding I discussed here, but it would appear that, no matter what the Wu-Tang Clan might have us believe, fraudsters unafraid to face a phalanx of fighting monks may be cowed by the rulings of trade tribunals. Maybe those protestors were right, after all...

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