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Will Chinese celebrities turn into guinea pigs?

A new advertisement law has it that celebrities have to try out the products they are offered to endorse before sponsoring them

08·28·2014

Will Chinese celebrities turn into guinea pigs?

A new advertisement law has it that celebrities have to try out the products they are offered to endorse before sponsoring them

08·28·2014

Have you ever imagined a Chinese actor actually driving a bulldozer in downtown Beijing? Or a mainland comedian hanging out with a bra? And how about a hairy star getting hair loss treatment for a month?

Well, daydream no longer, because the Chinese government might just have it your way!

A draft amendment being discussed to Beijing’s National People’s Congress is set to bring about drastic changes in China’s advertising, and according to the BBC its main target is false endorsements. Under the new law, Chinese celebrities will be required to test the products they endorse, or else face fraud charges and hefty fines. The endorsement must be “based on facts,” the draft says.

This might result in a few puzzling situations. For instance, a Weibo user wonders if actor Tang Guoqiang will need to get a bulldozer driving license to keep representing escavators. Or, another user points out, it is head-scratching to understand how actor Jiro Wang will keep endorsing women sanitary products. Many other male stars are known to advertise female items, including lingerie.

The proposed amendment comes as a means to crack down on false endorsements, which have been a problem in China and have often resulted in scandals. The Wall Street Journal recalls that in 2006, Hong Kong actress Carina Lau sponsored luxury Japanese skincare cream SK-II vowed to reduce wrinkles sensibly after only a month of use. Instead, it contained harmful chemicals and toxic metals resulting in a burst of side effects.

More recently Jackie Chan got busted himself, endorsing anti-hair loss shampoo brand Bawang International, which was later found to contain carcinogenic substances.

Therefore the measures, attempting to clamp down on such scandals. Under the new law, media, companies and celebrities will all be legally viable for false endorsements.

As reasonable and convincing its intentions may be, the law still managed to trigger irony on the social media.

“How will they make sure that celebrities really have used the products before they endorse them,” a netizen said.

“How about those actors who serve as spokespeople for brands of sanitary pads?” another sneered.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons