Chinese government notified computer manufacturers of the obligation to install operating software before their production leaves the factories.
"Computers manufactured within the country's borders should have pre-installed authorized operating software systems when they leave the factory," the notice said.
The order was released jointly by the Ministry of Information Industry, the State Copyright Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce on March 31st and the medias were only informed today.
This is the country's latest effort to address the issue of piracy before President Hu Jintao visits the U.S on April 20th, for the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Washington.
Illegal copying is a major irritant in U.S.-China relationships and China is requested to prove to the U.S. it has taken measures to discourage counterfeiting and distribution of copyrighted material on its territory at the upcoming meeting .
U.S.governement has already evoked the possibillity of applying economical sanctions to China if it is not showing any efforts.
Wang Ziqiang, director of the copyright management department at the State Copyright Bureau, said the notice was not issued in response to foreign criticism.
"This is not because of foreign pressure," he told reporters. "This is about the country's economic development."
Computer manufacturers and operating systems providers must also report to the Ministry of Information Industry before the end of February each year the number of computers sold and the number of operating systems installed.
Companies or individuals found to be installing pirated software will be investigated by the Copyright Bureau, the notice said.
Foreign PC makers like Dell for instance, the third-largest PC seller in China, will also be affected by the notice as it applies to imported computers as well.