An updated draft of a “truth in advertising” law submitted to Chinese lawmakers reportedly says that celebrity endorsements should be “based on facts,” or that paid spokespersons should actually try the products they endorse. The revision follows a 2013 update to the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of Consumers that assigns legal liability to celebrities appearing in misleading commercials and media outlets that broadcast the advertisements. The move is apparently in response to a rash of false endorsements across Asia.
In 2006, a Hong Kong actress was sued after endorsing a product from luxury skincare brand SK -II after the product was later revealed to contain the purportedly toxic metals chromium and neodymium. More recently, actor Jackie Chan was criticized for endorsing Bawang International’s anti-hairloss herbal shampoos, which a Hong Kong magazine accused of containing carcinogens. Some Chinese consumers have pointed out potential enforcement issues with the proposed law, such as the difficulties in ensuring that celebrities test the products they endorse and determining a minimum amount of the product that the spokespersons must try. See The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2014.