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China Advertising Businesses Cellphones Government

Xiaomi Investigated For Using Superlatives In Advertising, Now Illegal In China 109

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is under investigation for using superlative messaging on its website, according to a leaked document from the Beijing Ministry of Industry and Commerce. A new Chinese law states that adjectives used to promote products must not mislead consumers. The Xiaomi investigation [Chinese] follows claims made by rival Cong that the company used phrases such as 'the best' and 'the most advanced', in its online campaigns and therefore violated the country's advertising law. (The law against suprelatives doesn't seem to apply to communications by the government, about the government.)
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Xiaomi Investigated For Using Superlatives In Advertising, Now Illegal In China

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  • Here is the full text of the newly amended law [lawinfochina.com]. Here is the WIPO listing the deltas [wipo.int] with the older 1994 version of the law (click expand notes). It appears that this is the first change in this law since 1994. Also the WIPO provides a PDF of their English version which seems to be slightly different [wipo.int]. I also found a definition of the extent of what is regulated advertising [lawinfochina.com] by the PRC. Here's the WIPO's full list of defined restrictions:

    1) Overt or covert use of national flag, anthem or emblem of People’s Republic of China or military flag, anthem or emblem;
    2) Overt or covert use of the name or image of national public institute or staff of national public institute;
    3) Use of words such as “national-level”, “the most” and “the best”, among others;
    4) Causing detriment to national dignity or interests, or disclosing national secrets;
    5) Interfering with social stability, or causing detriment to social and public interests;
    6) Harming personal or property safety, or disclosing privacy;
    7) Interfering with social public order, or going against good social norm;
    8) Containing obscene, pornographic, gambling, superstitious, terrifying, or violent content;
    9) Containing discrimination based on nationality, race, religion, or gender;
    10) Affecting protection of environment, natural resources or cultural heritage;
    11) Other situations prohibited by laws and regulations.

    Merely sounds like another tool for the Party to deal with companies that are not state owned. Most companies will be found guilty of some section of this but they won't be prosecuted until they run afoul of the Party. In China (and increasingly in the US) everyone is guilty of something but only those that the state wants to be prosecuted will be prosecuted.

    So looking at the story, we have a new law enacted a month ago and whose head is on the chopping block today? Xiaomi? Well from wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    Xiaomi Inc. is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing, China, that is the world's 4th[4] largest smartphone maker. Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and related consumer electronics.[5]

    Aaaaaand there's your problem. Wake me up when a state owned company is prosecuted under these new laws. Xiaomi's true crime was probably doing better than Huawei.

    • You should have been waken [financialpost.com] up [wsj.com] indeed. Also Xiaomi is currently being promoted by Chinese leaders (e.g. Premier Li Keqiang) as a star entrepreneur to encourage more hi-tech start ups along with Alibaba.

  • This smells like one of those cases where a little used law is pulled out to harass someone. I'm thinking there must be some sort of underlying politics at work here.
    • That's what power is all about -- thuggery getting in the way of the productive to extract a fine lifestyle for themselves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      little used law is pulled out to harass someone...must be some sort of underlying politics at work here.

      It's called "communism".

      Granted, we have stupid laws and stupid judges also, and so are not entirely immune, but at least we have more ways to challenge such, including blogs and the press.

  • 15 minutes could save you up to 15% or more on car insurance.
  • Their ads will be blank over there.
  • " The law against suprelatives doesn't seem to apply to communications ... about the government."

    So you can say, "The Chinese government is the absolute best at violating human rights!" ?
    • At violating "Western-like" civil rights you mean. "Most" Chinese don't consider their human rights violated by their government. Perhaps people from countries that have only existed for less than 500 years don't have a damned clue when compared to Civilizations that have been around for at least 5000. History of China [chinahighlights.com]

      China is one of the world's four ancient civilizations; here we give a concise overview of more than 5000 years of Chinese history, including the Great Wall and ...

      • Perhaps people from countries that have only existed for less than 500 years don't have a damned clue when compared to Civilizations that have been around for at least 5000.

        They're much better at fascism, anyway.

      • At violating "Western-like" civil rights you mean. "Most" Chinese don't consider their human rights violated by their government. Perhaps people from countries that have only existed for less than 500 years don't have a damned clue when compared to Civilizations that have been around for at least 5000.

        That covers a time when human slavery, sexual and otherwise, was not uncommon.
        We have evolved, well, most of us, in our view of acceptable treatment of humans.

        "Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations in China. An estimated 500,000 people are currently enduring punitive detention without charge or trial, and millions are unable to access the legal system to seek redress for their grievances. [Source: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-... [amnestyusa.org]

        I can see why some would prefe

      • "Most" Chinese don't consider their human rights violated by their government. Perhaps people from countries that have only existed for less than 500 years don't have a damned clue when compared to Civilizations that have been around for at least 5000.

        Most Americans were not enslaved in 1860. Ergo, most Americans did not consider their human rights violated at that time. Yet, for those whose rights were violated -- the enslaved -- and the enlightened masses, saw it for what it was: It was a moral outrage.

        You have pointed out the embarrassing fact that a 5000 year old civilization still has not evolved to the point of acknowledging basic human rights and the moral imperative of liberty. China should learn a lesson from any culture -- regardless

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Unfortunately Americas reputation is even worse when it comes to it's corporate controlled operations of the US State Department, US Department of Defence (now that is a snark use of a word, Offence would be far more accurate and truthful), US State Department and the NSA/CIA, in other people's countries, those sub-human non-citizens. What China does to it's citizens is no where near as bad as what the United States of America does to other countries citizens to feed corporate profits under the guise of ne

      • I'm pretty sure those students in Tienanmen Square felt their rights were violated.

        • by nytes ( 231372 )

          Tienanmen Square? What's that?

          According to the Chinese govt., nothing ever happened there.

  • No more doge memes in China!

    Such superlative. Best rights. Wow.
  • Superlaxatives should be outlawed. No one gives a shit.
  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @01:45PM (#50637043)

    Now I understand why every Chinese American store and/or product is named 'Super Happy Best for Lucky Joyful Times'.

  • "most elegant", "highest class", "most luxurious" in China?

  • Three classes. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @02:30PM (#50637449) Homepage Journal

    There are three classes of business in China.
    1. State-sponsored or owned businesses. Short of a scandal like the melamine dog food one, they can get away with practically anything. No foreign interest can hold them accountable.
    2. State-sanctioned businesses. They've paid off the right people to look the other way, but if scrutiny becomes too great, they'll be thrown under the bus -- but only after high-ranking officials cash out, of course.
    3. Everyone else. They have to play on a field with Calvinball rules and moving goalposts.

    Sometimes joint ventures with foreign companies can make their way into class 2. Often they're allowed to languish in Class 3, especially if they're exporting everything they make.

  • Apple's entire marketing department would collapse in on itself into a hyperbolic black hole!

  • AFAIK, in the US you can use "the best" but not "better than" unless you have a way to back it up. Thus, "the best beer" is OK, but "better than Bud" is not OK unless you cite some specific like, "beat Bud in a blind taste test".

    Having different rules for different countries is probably going to give international ad campaigners some fits. That's the beauty of sovereignty though. Different systems, and we get to see what's workable in practice and what isn't.

  • Does the Party think the Chinese people can't tell the difference between factual claims and the opinions of a seller?

    Hmm. Now that I think about it, the Party has been training the people to accept its claims as fact for decades. Maybe they are worried it worked too well.

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