Consumer rights need further work

Updated: 2014-03-15 08:04

By Li Yang (China Daily)

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Consumer rights need further work

Fake and substandard food and medicine being destroyed in Beijing on Friday on the eve of World Consumer Rights Day. In 2013,the China Consumers' Association handled 550,000 complaints from consumers and resolved 93 percent of them. Cao Boyuan / China Daily

What companies will be featured on China's national television network on Saturday when it airs 3.15 Evening, an annual muckraking program for World Consumer Rights Day?

After targeting Volkswagen, Apple Inc, Carrefour SA, Toyota Motor Corp and The McDonald's Corp in the past three years for allegedly treating Chinese customers differently from those in other countries, State-owned broadcaster China Central Television came in for some criticism itself for double standards toward Chinese and foreign companies.

"You can surely criticize Apple. But you shouldn't be blind to the markedly more defective products made by Chinese companies, which are much easier to find", wrote Li Chengpeng, a famous Chinese blogger.

CCTV ran its first 3.15 Evening in 1991. The program, featuring a range of government officials, was an immediate success, because it exposed actual cases of shoddy products and told people how to defend their rights.

That was before China had its first law on consumer rights.

Businesses exposed on the program were invariably investigated and penalized.

Yet, after CCTV began to focus heavily on popular foreign brands starting in 2010, with strong support from quality and market regulators, some Chinese consumers became skeptical of CCTV itself, as well as other media outlets.

CCTV pocketed at least 16 billion yuan ($2.67 billion) in ad revenue last year, the largest figure among all media in China.

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