Press conference on working measures and effect of people's courts in the new era

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Tianmu News:

The rapid development of the digital economy has impacted our daily lives and work, while bringing brand new legal problems. For example, with the rise of such e-commerce festivals as "Double 11" and the "618" shopping gala in recent years, how do we solve disputes in e-commerce? Thank you.

Tao Kaiyuan:

Your question is very important as e-commerce remains a field of great concern. I'd like to invite Mr. He Xiaorong, who is in charge of the civil cases, to answer this question.

He Xiaorong:

I am very pleased to answer this question. We often say that cyberspace is not beyond the rule of law. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has attached great importance to the development of the digital economy and made it a national strategy. In recent years, along with the fast growth of China's internet industry, the number of e-commerce disputes has also risen rapidly. We have always attached equal importance to encouragement and restriction, and tried various cases involving e-commerce in accordance with the law. In March 2022, the SPC issued Provisions on a Certain Number of Issues Concerning the Application of Laws on Cases of Disputes over Online Consumption (I). The release of the judicial interpretation has prompted strong reactions from all parts of society, providing responses to the public addressing issues related to online consumption. We will strengthen the protection of consumers' rights and interests to promote the healthy development of the cyber economy.

First, as for standard clauses, "the quality of commodities shall be deemed to meet the requirements upon receipt by the recipient" is a standard clause we often see. Another instance is "the operator has the right of unilateral interpretation or final interpretation." Such clauses are often seen in online consumption. As prescribed in the Civil Code, standard clauses that are provided by sellers to impose fewer liabilities on themselves and excess liabilities on consumers shall be deemed invalid according to law.

Second, in terms of online consumption fraud, the judicial interpretation stipulates that contracts signed by e-commerce operators and others for false publicity by fabricating transactions, clicks, and user comments shall be deemed invalid according to law.

Third, in terms of non-standard promotions in online consumption, the judicial interpretation stipulates that e-commerce operators whose prize items, giveaways, or exchange products cause damage to consumers shall take the responsibility for compensating for damages, and shall not claim liability exemption on the grounds that prize items or giveaways are provided for free, or that goods are purchased in exchange. 

Fourth, as for livestreaming marketing, the judicial interpretation stipulates the self-management responsibility of the livestreaming sales platform operators, their prepayment responsibility when they are unable to provide real information and effective contact information of the livestreaming studio operators, their responsibility to review the operation qualification of livestreaming studios for selling food, and their joint and several liabilities for failing to take necessary measures when they know or should have known that the livestreaming studio infringed upon the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. It also stipulates the legal obligations and liabilities of online catering service platform operators for failing to review real-name registration and licenses, as well as the rights and obligations in commissioned processing. It is known that takeaway food and drink involves every citizen's right to health, so we have formulated stricter regulations in this regard. 

Next, we will continue to pay close attention to new developments and new problems in the trials of e-commerce cases, enact the second judicial interpretation on online consumption at an appropriate time, and actively respond to public concerns. We will also take solid measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the people so that they can be assured of using e-commerce to buy safely, facilitating the sustained and sound development of e-commerce in China. On the other hand, we will take active measures to adapt to the development needs of e-commerce, apply accurately online litigation rules and online mediation rules, step up efforts to improve electronic certification and other digital application infrastructure, and protect the rights of the parties involved to choose the litigation mode and to dispose of procedural interests so as to improve the quality and efficiency of online e-commerce dispute resolution. Thank you.

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