Con­sumers’ rights are es­sen­tial part of sup­ply-side re­form

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

With much fan­fare, China’s state broad­caster China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion named and shamed a bunch of wrong­do­ers, par­tic­u­larly some e-busi­nesses, in its an­nual gala to markWorld Con­sumer Rights Day, which fell on Tues­day this year.

Such a rit­u­al­ized me­dia cam­paign against sus­pected busi­ness mis­con­duct is cer­tainly of value to Chi­nese con­sumers who de­serve stronger pro­tec­tion from all kinds of frauds, fake goods and poor ser­vices.

Un­for­tu­nately, it has be­come in­creas­ingly less in­flu­en­tial be­cause of both de­clin­ing au­di­ence rat­ings re­sult­ing from the fierce com­pe­ti­tion the tra­di­tional broad­cast­ers face from In­ter­net-based new­me­dia, and the lack of ef­fec­tive fol­low-up ef­forts in the past to ad­dress ris­ing con­sumer com­plaints.

How­ever, this is not a chal­lenge only for CCTV.

Chi­nese pol­i­cy­mak­ers should also rec­og­nize the very ur­gent need to sig­nif­i­cantly strengthen pro­tec­tion of con­sumer rights, and im­ple­ment stronger leg­isla­tive and ad­min­is­tra­tive mea­sures. If Chi­nese con­sumers are ex­pected to do the heavy lift­ing to push for­ward eco­nomic growth, their le­gal rights must be ex­panded and de­fended in line with the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in con­sump­tion pat­terns and trends.

In other words, pro­mot­ing the greater sat­is­fac­tion of Chi­nese con­sumers will de­ter­mine the speed and sus­tain­abil­ity of con­sump­tion­led growth.

In 2015, con­sump­tion con­trib­uted 66.4 per­cent to GDP, up 15.4 per­cent­age points from 2014. The un­ex­pected de­cline in ex­ports and slug­gish in­vest­ment growth dis­pro­por­tion­ately en­larged the con­tri­bu­tion con­sump­tion made to the Chi­nese econ­omy last year.

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