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Advertising Law of the People's Republic of China (2018 Amendment) (2018-2021 Annotation Version)

CHAPTER I General Provisions

Article 1 This law is developed to regulate advertising activities, protect the lawful rights and interests of consumers, promote the sound development of the advertising sector, and maintain the social and economic order.

Article 2 This Law shall apply to commercial advertising activities in which commodity dealers or service providers directly or indirectly introduce, via certain media and in certain forms, goods or services marketed by them within the territory of the People's Republic of China.
For the purposes of this Law, “advertiser” means a natural person, a legal person, or any other organization that designs, produces, and publishes advertisements or authorizes any other person to do so for the purpose of marketing its goods or services.
For the purposes of this Law, “advertising agent” means a natural person, a legal person, or any other organization that accepts authorization to provide advertisement design, production, and agency services.
For the purposes of this Law, “advertisement publisher” means a natural person, a legal person, or any other organization that publishes advertisements for an advertiser or an advertising agent authorized by the advertiser.
For the purposes of this Law, “endorser” means a natural person, a legal person, or any other organization, other than the advertiser, that recommends or certifies goods or services in an advertisement in its own name or image.

Article 3 The contents of advertisements shall be expressed in a true, lawful, and healthy manners, and conform to the requirements of the construction of socialist spiritual civilization and the development of the fine traditional cultures of the Chinese nation.

Article 4 Advertisements shall not have any false or misleading content or defraud or mislead consumers.
An advertiser shall be responsible for the veracity of contents of advertisement.

Article 5 Advertisers, advertising agents, and advertisement publishers shall abide by laws and regulations, be honest and trustworthy, and compete in a fair manner in advertising activities.

Article 6 The of the State Council shall take charge of advertising supervision and administration nationwide, and the relevant departments of the State Council shall be responsible for work related to advertising administration within their respective functions.
Local market regulatory department at and above the county level shall take charge of advertising supervision and administration within their respective administrative regions, and the relevant departments of local people's governments at and above the county level shall be responsible for work related to advertising administration within their respective functions.

Article 7 Advertising industry organizations shall, in accordance with the provisions of laws and regulations and their bylaws, develop industry rules, strengthen industry self-regulation, promote industry development, guide members in legally conducting advertising activities, and promote integrity in the advertising sector.

CHAPTER II Rules for the Contents of Advertising

Article 8 Where an advertisement indicates the performance, functions, place of origin, uses, quality, ingredients, price, producer, term of validity, and promises, among others, of the goods or the content, provider, form, quality, price, and promises, among others, of the services, such indication shall be accurate, clear, and understandable.
Where an advertisement indicates that a gift is attached to the marketed goods or services, the variety, specification, quantity, term, and form of the gift goods or services shall be explicitly indicated.
Where any content shall be explicitly indicated in an advertisement as required by any law or administrative regulation, it shall be indicated in a conspicuous and clear manner.

Article 9 An advertisement shall be prohibited from:
(1) using, or using in a disguised form, the national flag, national anthem, national emblem, military flag, military song, or military emblem of the People's Republic of China;
(2) using, or using in a disguised form, the name or image of any state authority or its staff member;
(3) using “national,” “highest,” “best,” or similar comparative words;
(4) damaging the dignity or interest of the state or divulging any state secret;
(5) disturbing social stability or damaging the public interest;
(6) damaging personal or property safety or divulging individual privacy;
(7) disturbing the public order or departing from a good social climate;
(8) containing any obscene, pornographic, gambling, superstitious, horrible, or violent content;
(9) containing any ethnically, racially, religiously, or sexually discriminatory content;
(10) impeding the protection of environment, natural resources, or cultural heritages; or
(11) falling under any other circumstances as set out by any law or administrative regulation.

Article 10 Advertisements shall not damage the physical and mental health of the minors and the disabled.

Article 11 Where the contents of an advertisement involve any matter subject to administrative licensing, it shall conform to the licensed content.
The data, statistics, investigation results, excerpts, quotations, and other citations used in an advertisement shall be true and accurate, with the sources indicated. If any citation has a scope of application or a term of validity, the scope of application or term of validity shall be clearly indicated.

Article 12 Where an advertisement involves any patented product or patented method, the patent number and the patent type shall be indicated.
An advertisement shall not falsely claim that a patent has been granted, if the patent has not been granted.
An advertisement shall be prohibited from using a patent application before the patent is granted or using any expired, revoked, or invalidated patent.

Article 13 Advertisements shall not disparage the goods or services of any other producer or trader.

Article 14 An advertisement shall be identifiable so that consumers could identify it as an advertisement.
Advertisements shall not be published in the disguised form of a news report on mass media. Any advertisement published on mass media shall be conspicuously indicated as an “advertisement” to distinguish it from other non-advertisement information and avoid misleading consumers.
Advertisements published on radio and television stations shall be in compliance with the provisions of the relevant departments of the State Council on length and methods, and the length of advertisements shall be clearly indicated.

Article 15 Narcotic drugs, psychotropic drugs, toxic drugs for medical use, radioactive drugs, and other special drugs, pharmaceutical precursor chemicals, and drugs, medical instruments, and treatment methods for drug rehabilitation treatment shall not be advertised.
Prescription drugs other than those set out in the preceding paragraph may only be advertised on specialized pharmaceutical or medical journals jointly designated by the health and the drug administrative departments of the State Council.

Article 16 Advertisements on medical services, drugs, or medical instrument shall not contain:
(1) any assertion or assurance on efficacy or safety;
(2) any statement on the recovery or response rate;
(3) any comparison with other drugs or medical instruments in efficacy and safety or comparison with other medical institutions;
(4) any recommendation or certification by an endorser; or
(5) any other information prohibited by any law or administrative regulation.
The contents of a drug advertisement shall not differ from the instructions approved by the drug administrative department of the State Council, and shall conspicuously indicate the restrictions and adverse reactions. An advertisement on a prescription drug shall conspicuously indicate: “This advertisement is intended for medical and pharmaceutical professionals only,” and an advertisement on a non-prescription drug shall conspicuously indicate: “Please follow the instructions of the drug or purchase and use the drug under the direction of a pharmacist.”
An advertisement on medical instruments recommended for personal use shall conspicuously indicate: “Please carefully read the product specification or purchase and use the product under the direction of medical personnel.” Where there are any contraindications or precautions in the medical instrument's registration certification document, the advertisement shall conspicuously indicate: “Please see the instructions for details on contraindications or precautions.”

Article 17 Advertisements except those on medical services, drugs, and medical instruments shall not involve disease treatment functions, nor use medical terms or terms that may result in confusion between the marketed goods and any drugs or medical instruments.

Article 18 Advertisements on dietary supplements shall not contain:
(1) any assertion or assurance on efficacy or safety;
(2) any statement involving disease prevention or treatment functions;
(3) any claim or implicit indication that the advertised good is necessity for maintaining health;
(4) any comparison with drugs or any other dietary supplements;
(5) any recommendation or certification by an endorser; or
(6) any other information prohibited by any law or administrative regulation.
An advertisement on a dietary supplement shall conspicuously indicate: “This product is not a substitute for drugs.”

Article 19 Radio stations, television stations, publishers of newspapers, journals, and audio-visual recordings, and Internet service providers shall not publish advertisements on medical services, drugs, medical instruments, or dietary supplements in a disguised form such as introducing health or health care knowledge.

Article 20 It shall be prohibited to publish, on mass media or in public places, advertisements on any infant diary product, beverage, or other food which claims to substitute for breast milk in whole or in part.

Article 21 Advertisements on pesticides, veterinary drugs, feeds, or feed additives shall not contain:
(1) any assertion or assurance on efficacy or safety;
(2) any recommendation or certification in the name or image of any scientific research entity, academic institution, technical promotion institution, industry association, professional, or user;
(3) any statement on the response rate;
(4) any words, language, or picture in violation of safe use procedures; or
(5) any other information prohibited by any law or administrative regulation.

Article 22 It shall be prohibited to publish tobacco advertisements on mass media, in public places, on public means of transportation, or outdoors. Sending any form of tobacco advertisement to the minors shall be prohibited.
It shall be prohibited to publicize the name, trademark, packaging, decoration, and other similar aspects of tobacco products through advertisements on any other goods or services or public service advertisements.
The notices issued by a tobacco product manufacturer or seller regarding its relocation, renaming, or recruitment, among others, shall not contain the name, trademark, packaging, decoration, and other similar aspects of tobacco products.

Article 23 Advertisements on liquor shall not contain:
(1) any drinking inducement or instigation or immoderate drinking;
(2) any description of an act of drinking;
(3) any description of driving a car, vessel, or airplane driving, among others; or
(4) any explicit or implicit indication that drinking relieves tension and anxiety, increases physical strength, or has any other efficacy.

Article 24 Advertisements on education or training shall not contain:
(1) any explicit or implicit commitment to guarantee future enrollment in a school, passing of examinations, or obtainment of an academic degree or a diploma or guarantee the results of education or training;
(2) any explicit or implicit indication that the relevant examination authority or its staff members or the test designers will participate in the education or training; or
(3) any recommendation or certification in the name or image of any scientific research entity, academic institution, educational institution, industry association, professional, or beneficiary.

Article 25 An advertisement on goods or services to provide business opportunities or any other expectation of investment return shall contain a reasonable reminder or warning of possible risks and the assumption of liability arising from such risks, and shall not contain:
(1) any commitment to guarantee future results, return, or relevant conditions or any explicit or implicit indication of breakeven, no risk, or guaranteed return, among others, except as otherwise specified by the state; or
(2) any recommendation or certification in the name or image of any academic institution, industry association, professional, or beneficiary.

Article 26 An advertisement on real estate shall contain true information on the source of real estate, with the area thereof clarified as the gross floor area or the gross internal floor area, and shall not contain:
(1) any commitment on appreciation or investment return;
(2) any indication of the location of the project by the time needed from the project to a specific object of reference;
(3) any violation of the provisions of the state on price management; or
(4) any misleading publicity on transport, commerce, cultural and educational, and other municipal facilities in planning or under construction.

Article 27 In advertisements on crop seeds, tree seeds, grass seeds, breeding livestock and poultry, aquatic fries and fingerlings, planting, and breeding, the statements on the name of a variety, production performance, increment or yield, nature, resistance, particular use value, economic value, and appropriate scope and conditions for planting or breeding, among others, shall be true, clear, and understandable, and such advertisements shall not contain:
(1) any assertion that cannot be scientifically validated;
(2) any assertion or assurance on efficacy;
(3) any analysis or prediction of or any commitment to guarantee the economic return; or
(4) any recommendation or certification in the name or image of any scientific research entity, academic institution, technical promotion institution, industry association, professional, or user.

Article 28 Any advertisement that defrauds or misleads consumers with any false or misleading content shall be a false advertisement.
An advertisement that falls under any of the following circumstances shall be a false advertisement:
(1) The advertised good or service does not exist.
(2) Regarding the good's performance, functions, place of production, uses, quality, specification, ingredient, price, producer, term of validity, sales condition, and honors received, among others, or the service's contents, provider, form, quality, price, sales condition, and honors received, among others, or any commitments, among others, made on the good or service, there is any inconsistency with the actual circumstances, which has a material impact on purchases.
(3) Any scientific research result, statistical data, investigation result, excerpt, quotation, or other information which is fabricated or forged or cannot be validated has been used as a certification material.
(4) The results of using the good or receiving the service are fabricated.
(5) Consumers are otherwise defrauded or misled with any false or misleading content.

CHAPTER III Code of Conduct of Advertising

Article 29 To engage in the advertisement publishing business, a radio station, television station, or publisher of a newspaper or journal shall establish a specialized department for its advertising business, assign necessary personnel, have the places and equipment appropriate for publishing advertisements, and undergo advertisement publishing registration with the local market regulatory department at or above the county level.

[Note:In Article 29, “and undergo advertisement publishing registration at the local market regulatory department at or above the county level” is deleted.]

Article 30 Advertisers, advertising agents, and advertisement publishers shall, in accordance with the law, enter into written contracts among them in their advertising activities.

Article 31 Advertisers, advertising agents, and advertisement publishers shall not conduct any form of unfair competition in their advertising activities.

Article 32 The advertising agents or advertisement publishers authorized by advertisers to design and produce or publish advertisements shall be legally qualified to engage in such business.

Article 33 To use the name or image of any other person in advertising, an advertiser or advertising agent shall obtain the written consent of the person in advance; or to use the name or image of a person without civil competency or a person with limited civil competency, the advertiser or advertising agent shall obtain the written consent of the person's guardian in advance.

Article 34 Advertising agents and advertisement publishers shall, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the state, establish and improve their management rules for the acceptance registration, examination, and archives of advertising transactions.
Advertising agents and advertisement publishers shall examine the relevant certification documents, and verify the contents of advertisements, in accordance with laws and administrative regulations. Advertising agents shall not provide design, production, and agency services for, and advertisement publishers shall not publish, advertisements with any inconsistent content or with incomplete certification documents.

Article 35 Advertising agents and advertisement publishers shall publish their fee rates and fee collection methods.

Article 36 The coverage rate, audience rating, click rate, circulation, and other data provided by advertisement publishers to advertisers and advertising agents shall be true.

Article 37 Where any law or administrative regulation prohibits the production or sale of a product or the provision of a service or prohibits the advertising of a good or service, no entity or individual may design, produce, serve as an agent for, or publish any advertisement on such product or good or service.

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