Summary of China’s Progress in Consumer Rights

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In China, March 15 – World Consumer Rights Day – gets immense press coverage and attention. People in China use the day – a mere sidenote elsewhere in the world – as an opportunity to air their grievances. The day’s highlight is a television gala during which the government takes fake goods off the market, highlights unfair business practices and calls attention to scams it uncovered during the previous year. The gala is the government’s propagandistic effort to communicate its dedication to protecting its people, but China has indeed come a long way in terms of consumer rights. In this article published by Time Finance, an online media platform covering business, economics and investment trends, writer Wang Ying tracks the history of China’s consumer rights, including interesting examples and sound analysis. This offers an engaging read for anyone curious about how consumer rights evolved alongside China’s economy. Interestingly, this well-meaning look back at China’s history of consumer rights laws was censored days after the article was published – likely because it mentions public demonstrations and recounts the rampant business fraud of the past. 

About the Author

Wang Ying writes for Time Finance, an online financial news media platform headquartered in Guangzhou, China. She reports on corporate news and investment trends. 



China’s reform and opening-up policies began to create market vitality in the early 1980s, and Chinese consumer demand in goods surged. So, too, did businesspeople’s desire to strike it rich in the new era of opportunity. Economic output increased dramatically in a short period of time. However, without regulatory policies to check business practices, the market was chaotic. Disagreements between buyers and sellers often led to verbal disputes and even physical confrontations. With no law to portect them, consumers felt vulnerable. 

The China Consumers Association launched in 1984 to protect consumers and address complaints. In 1985, the association received 8,041 grievance letters – the next year 47,403. The association alleviated tensions to some extent but was unable to address the root of the problems. 

On March...