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China clamps down on online fakes

03-15-2011 17:39 BJT

From Beijing's crackdown on the sale of dozens of fake luxury brands on famous online shopping website Taobao two years ago to the CEO and COO of Alibaba resigning in response to the "trust crisis" caused by thousands of suppliers cheating, China is coming down hard on fake and forged commodities on the Internet and becoming more serious.

With the largest number of Internet users — estimated at about 460 million as of 2010 — the ever-developing Internet is changing people's lives in China, especially through the development of online business. However, evil, including infringement and cheating, grows as well as benefit and threatens the health of China's online business.

According to the statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center, China had 160 million online shoppers last year, a 41.6 percent increase year on year, and 523.1 billion yuan worth of transactions were made on the Internet market. At the same time, another report says a total of 391,111 cases were reported last year and 23.8 percent of them were about Internet cheating.

Because today, March 15, is the International Day for Consumers' Rights and Interests, some people have begun appealing to the government to curb and crack down on fake and forged commodities on the Internet to avoid harms to consumers' interests and the Chinese Internet's reputation.

Recently, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a "blacklist" of those websites involved in selling fake and piratical goods, and China's Taobao is on the list, too.

Taobao, which has about 370 million registered users, spent a large amount of money cracking down on fake goods and deleted 5.7 million infringing commodities in all last year. USTR admitted that Taobao sacrificed a lot on this, but it seems like it is still not satisfied.

On March 14, Taobao announced that it would join hands with Louis Vuitton, GUCCI, Apple, SWAROVSKI and other famous international brands to organize Internet rights-safeguarding actions and build a special team for fighting against counterfeits.

Qiao Beirui, a PR official from Taobao, said Taobao would form the Internet rights-safeguarding actions into a system and implement it regularly. Once some shops were confirmed selling counterfeits on Taobao, they would be black-listed and banned for life from running stores on Taobao.

As of now, online fakes have already drawn attention from China's senior officials and been listed in the government work report during the two sessions of China in 2011.

Premier Wen Jiabao said China is going to "develop e-business, online shopping, geographical information and other new services actively" in China's government work report of 2011 and emphasized the "fight against infringing on intellectual property rights" as well as "producing and selling fake and forged commodities."

Apart from official voices, a newly-born grassroots Internet fake-crackdown group is growing and has triggered a nationwide trend of doing this on China's Internet.

A person in charge of the first such group in China, whose surname is Huang, said the group that teamed up with more than 20 Internet companies two years ago officially stated fighting against fake goods since this January, and they have received more than 7,000 of complaints involving more than 400 brands as of now.

Chen Baolong, a lawyer who had worked in the court for years, said the most important thing is to reinforce the supervision and attack the problem from all sides. Through these means, we can control and eliminate the sale of fake goods on the Internet.

"Regarding Taobao and other online shopping websites, relevant offices should examine the online shoppers, establish files and severely test goods' qualities." Chen said.

However, many people in the law circle said the definition and penalty for the sale of fake goods online is not complete in China's legislation and relevant judicial interpretation. It needs to be studied carefully and to advance the process of legislation about online business.

"If every consumer can resist the temptation of low prices and famous brands and realize the importance of self-production and intellectual property rights protection, those fakes things can never find places to hide even in the cyber world," Chen commented.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: People’s Daily

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