Across the country from next month television and radio
commercials for breast-enhancement treatments and weight-loss
products and equipment will be banned. The State Administration of
Radio, Film and Television and the State Administration of Industry
and Commerce (SAIC) announced the ban on Wednesday.
The move targets misleading advertisements in which supposed
research results for various treatments are exaggerated and
"experts and patients" are used to show the "magic effects" of the
remedies, according to the two bodies.
Zhao Jian, deputy director of the SAIC's advertising supervision
department, said the problem was "very serious" and had harmed
consumers' legitimate rights and interests. "Misleading commercials
have also affected the credibility of radio and television," he
The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce (BAIC)
received only one complaint about TV direct-selling commercials in
2004 but the number jumped to 451 last year. The complaints focused
on exaggerated claims about products and their poor quality,
according to the BAIC.
Early this month consumer rights watchdogs said they were
investigating a breast enhancement treatment which promised to
transfer unwanted weight from the hips to the breasts.
Bolibao, a "miracle" treatment touted on 17 TV stations, was
accused in a China Central Television documentary of causing
gynecological problems and of having no effect at all.
So far the ban has gained wide public support and recognition
from large TV shopping companies. Nine out of 10 people randomly
surveyed on the street by China Daily said such commercials
should have been banned a long time ago.
Deng Chuanmei, a 40-year-old mother, said she felt embarrassed
when she saw some of the breast enhancement advertisements on TV
especially when she was with her husband or 15-year-old son. "Some
of them are like pornographic movies," she said.
More than 1,000 people have also expressed support for the ban
on Sina.com which is one of China's largest websites.
Large TV shopping firms such as the Shanghai Seven Star TV
Shopping Company said the ban would better regulate the market and
benefit the industry in the long run.
"We'll suffer a loss of about 20 percent in business and a large
number of small companies may face closure," a sales manager at the
company said. "But we consider the policy positive for a healthy TV
Advertisement rates are around 5,000 yuan (US$625) per minute
for such commercials which can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes,
At about 2:00 PM on Wednesday, 18 of the country's 53 TV
channels were broadcasting such commercials, according to a report
by The First, a daily newspaper in Beijing.
However, Zhu Changhao, vice chairman of the China Association of
Pharmaceutical Commerce, urged the governing bodies to issue harsh
punishments for any violations. "Otherwise I'm not optimistic about
the result of the ban," he said.
(China Daily July 21, 2006)