An on-line survey found that two-thirds of respondents said advertisements are "untrustworthy."
The survey, sponsored by the China Consumers' Association, conducted the investigation among 12,927 netizens and found that two-thirds of them, or 67.8 percent, said they had been victimized by fake and illegal advertisements.
In the first half of this year, the association received 5,483 complaints about false advertising, which prompted the association to carry out the on-line survey, which ran from June 23 to Aug. 18 this year.
Small advertisements, which are posted outside on trees, walls or bus stops, were considered the least trustworthy. TV advertising ranked second most untrustworthy, and on-line advertising came third.
The respondents said medical products, health food and medicine were the most untrustworthy ads followed by beauty services and cosmetic products.
Meanwhile, 41.3 percent of the surveyed said the media that publishes advertisements should be held responsible for the consequences resulting from fake and illegal advertising. More than 32.6 fake advertisers should be banned from advertising.
Nearly 80 percent of the respondents believed that celebrities should also be held responsible for fake ads.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, together with the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, announced a ban on commercials for weight loss, breast enlargement and other health and beauty products and treatments on TV and radio in July.
The ban, which came into effect on Aug. 1, was introduced because of fears that such ads violated consumers' rights and posed health risks.
According to the China Consumer's Association, the advertising sector grew by 14.8 percent a year from 2000 to 2005. The country's advertising business was worth 141.6 billion yuan (US$17.7 billion) in 2005, ranking fifth in the world.
(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2006)