China is finally about to amend its law for the protection of consumers, almost 20 years after it was first promulgated in October 1993. On 28 April 2013, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee published a draft amended law for comments by 31 May. It will be probably be promulgated later this year after two more rounds of standing committee discussion.
The draft strengthens protection of consumer rights and imposes more obligations on businesses. It also seeks to update the law by addressing issues that have arisen or become more prominent since it was first passed, such as protection of personal data, electronic marketing messages, warranties, product recalls and e-commerce. The authorities are also given more power to conduct selective inspections on business operators and their goods and services, and penalties have increased.
What the draft says
Protection of personal data. Like the Decision of the Standing Committee on Strengthening the Protection of Network Information (effective 28 December 2012), the draft requires business operators to obtain consumers’ consent before collecting or using their personal data, and to explicitly inform them of the purpose, means and scope of information collection and use. Business operators must also keep collected personal data confidential and not sell or illegally provide it to others. Breach of these requirements may lead to penalties including orders to rectify, fines and in the worst case, annulment of business licence.
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Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker & McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice. You can contact Baker & McKenzie by e-mail at: Zhang Danian (Shanghai) firstname.lastname@example.org