"The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced in Beijing on Sunday that China has ascended to fourth position in the world in applications for protecting new agricultural plant varieties."
China launched the Regulations on protecting new plant varieties (pdf) in 1997 and it took effect in 1999. On April 23, 1999, China acceded to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants and became the 39th member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). In december MOA issued decrees nr. 13 and nr. 3 in 2000.
"More than 800 violation cases have been investigated by the judicial departments, with 460 cases having been taken to courts." Read the Xinhua article published by CRIEnglish.com here. Read the 2005 China Daily article 'Protection of plants bears fruit' here.