Ques­tions to be an­swered in Hong­mao liquor case

China Daily - - COMMENT -

It is ob­vi­ously not sen­si­ble for a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional to give a sen­sa­tional ti­tle to an oth­er­wise aca­demic ar­ti­cle he posted on­line. Es­pe­cially when his ar­ti­cle ac­cuses the liquor of be­ing toxic rather than hav­ing medic­i­nal ben­e­fits as its man­u­fac­turer claims.

The county’s pub­lic se­cu­rity bu­reau is tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against him claim­ing he has com­mit­ted a crim­i­nal of­fense by tar­nish­ing the liquor’s rep­u­ta­tion. But it is still not proper for po­lice of­fi­cers from Liangcheng county in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­tonomous re­gion, where the liquor is brewed, to travel all the way to Guangzhou in South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince to de­tain the 39-year-old anes­thetist.

The liquor, which is ac­tu­ally a con­coc­tion of more than 60 kinds of medic­i­nal herbs, is reg­is­tered as a non­pre­scrip­tion medicine, but the ar­ti­cle said its health ben­e­fits were ex­ag­ger­ated by the pro­ducer, and it had been pun­ished by some drug su­per­vi­sion au­thor­i­ties for false ad­ver­tis­ing.

There­fore, what the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Mar­ket Reg­u­la­tion has done is right. It has re­quired its lo­cal coun­ter­part in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­tonomous re­gion to make the brewer of the liquor give an ex­pla­na­tion about its mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tise­ments. The brew­ery is also re­quired to pub­lish a de­tailed ac­count about the safety and ef­fec­tive­ness of its con­coc­tion. It also has to re­veal any pos­si­ble side ef­fects that may re­sult from drink­ing the liquor.

The In­ner Mon­go­lia procu­ra­torate hav­ing re­viewed the ma­te­ri­als re­lated to the case has or­dered the Liangcheng county procu­ra­torate to re­turn the case to the lo­cal po­lice for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. And it has or­dered the writer of the post be re­leased in the mean­time.

Even if the doc­tor’s ar­ti­cle has dam­aged the liquor’s im­age, it should be a civil not a crim­i­nal case.

As for what the brew­ery has done with its ad­ver­tise­ments, how could the mis­lead­ing ads con­tinue to be pub­lished both in TV and other me­dia af­ter be­ing no­ti­fied as vi­o­lat­ing re­lated le­gal codes? Does this have any­thing to do with in­ad­e­quate mar­ket reg­u­la­tion and su­per­vi­sion?

The rel­e­vant me­dia and those de­part­ments re­spon­si­ble for check­ing ads should also be in­ves­ti­gated to see if they should be held ac­count­able for any wrong­do­ing.

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