The State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) launched a targeted inspection of goods, sold or promoted online as “government’s choice”.
Recently, some e-commerce platforms have been reportedly selling products, marked with abbreviations that stand for state authorities. According to the Chinese market regulator, such advertisement disrupts the market, misleads and deceives customers.
The inspection mostly focuses on products of high social demand: food and drinks (spirits, soft drinks, health foods), chinaware, bags. Merchants place abbreviations like “RMDHT” (Ren Min Da Hui Tang – the Great Hall of the People, which is an important venue of state affairs), “ZXYJ” (Zheng Xie Yong Jiu – the favorite spirit of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), “QGRD” (Quan Guo Ren Da – the National People’s Congress), “GYZY” (Guo Yan Zhuan Yong – a special choice for state banquets), “JD” (Jun Dui – the Army) on the packaging, marking or in promotional materials. Together with “special supply to” or “ordered by” wordings, the abbreviations are expected to emphasize the uniqueness and trustworthiness of certain goods.
If found suspected in unlawful use, the merchants will have to delete false information or to stop to promote, while relevant authorities will conduct investigation and apply a penalty, as required by the E-Commerce Law, the Advertising Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law and the Food Safety Law of China.
On September 29, the SAMR requested some e-shops to ensure proper self-revision and rectification, to filter restricted or limited wordings and to verify new applicants and their promotional materials. The official inspection will continue till the end of February 2021, final reports and the most representative cases will then be published on the SAMR’s website.
The prohibition for central and state government bodies of China to use “special supply” marks was first announced in 2013, as various traders had unlawfully used such marks to obtain unfair profit. Names of public bodies as well as key meetings, events, places or buildings, easily associated with the government, fell under the new rule and were since considered an illegal way to promote goods.