Becaues its easer to steal.
they are just picking the low lying fruit right now. This story is just a play on fears. We need equal trade ristrictions and fees that match the countries of origins fees and restricions. When they start to innovate, and thet will then they will need to protect their IP and they will only be able to protect it if they start protecting other countries ip.
HSR speed improvement is by no means an innovation, it is just a modification. Japan and German/France have the Maglev to break the world record.
China lacks innovation is a fact,just look at the eagerness of country's leaders want to win the science Nobel prizes. You won't see it in another decade. Japan had several of them before the WWII. Morris Chang, The TSMC CEO, said it will take China a long long time to catch up in the semiconductor manufacturing. As for now, it is just buying the IPs to move forward. If IBM stops the sell process recipes, then the manufacturing stops moving forward.
Before we invest ourselves too much into philosophical and cultural reasons for lack of IP protection in China, let's remember that IP is a relatively new concept in the Western world. The British publishers were complaining vociferously about unauthorized reprinting of their books in the 19th century US; Dickens was livid about it, until he figured out that he can earn as much by doing reading tours.
Throughout history, people only innovate when the status quo is insufficient to perform the desired function. Ideas have been pouring into China from all over the world by the zillions, so they probably don't feel any necessity to innovate.
I recently boaught some computer parts from an all Chinese company and the Engineering was impressive. I think once they discover a need to innovate, because the current technology no longer meets their needs, they will do just fine and surprise the world.
What I'm seeing right now is that China seems to be a mixed bag. Yes, there's blatant pirating and lots of copying other's products. As the author of The EMC Blog for Test & Measurement World, I wrote about one company that was reselling pirated product regulatory standards (e-copies) for a small fraction of the selling price from legitimate standards organizations. See:
On the other hand, I see real innovation in the expanding hobby electronics field. Up and coming companies such as www.SeeedStudio.com and DealExtreme (http://dx.com) provide basic building blocks for enthusiastic hobbyists, who are innovating like mad.
For example, a group of Chinese engineering enthusiasts designed and built a 3 MHz bandwidth digitizing oscilloscope with auto measurements and built-in signal generator that's literally the size of a business card. See:
Another example is the development of 3D printers, where the price has gotten down to the level of a high-quality paper printer (~$500).
One last example is Rigol Electronics. This company makes low-cost "budget" test equipment. And yes, they tend to copy the "look and feel" of some of the big-name T&M company products...but, at the same time, they are adding features that some of the big names don't even have. One example is their new DSA815TG spectrum analyzer (with tracking generator and EMI option), which provides a complete EMI pre-compliance solution for under $2k - about 1/10th the price of the nearest competitor. See my review here:
Admittedly, the Chinese have a long way to go where it comes to ethics and legal protection of intellectual property. But it will happen...in time.
Maybe this (original Norwegian) article about Chinese engineers is of interest:
I'm pretty sure China will rock the world on invention in the not too distant future. We've recently seen some microprocessor and phone related stuff, and its probably just the beginning. But as many new inventions are build on top, or on the side of old inventions, it may be hard to invent totally from scratch.