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Lawmakers discuss changes to consumer rights law

2013-04-25 08:33 Xinhua     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

Lawmakers on Wednesday proposed heavier penalties for commercial fraud when discussing draft amendments to the consumer rights law 20 years after it was enacted.

Attending the three-day bimonthly legislative session, members of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and experts agreed that amending the law is conducive to the protection of consumers' rights and interests and the cultivation of social integrity.

Top legislator Zhang Dejiang joined the discussion.

Many lawmakers suggested to increase the cost of law violations by imposing heavier fines for commercial fraud, including deceptive advertisements and the production and sale of shoddy goods.

The draft amendments said penalties for commercial fraud should involve fines equivalent to twice the value of goods or services, with a minimum fine set at 500 yuan, it said, adding that criminal liabilities will be pursued for those whose defective products damage consumers' health or result in death.

The draft also included stipulations on online shopping as China's e-commerce market is expanding at full speed and protection of online shoppers is highly needed.

"Online commerce is booming in China, which is especially popular among young people," said lawmaker Fu Ying, who is also a diplomat and spokeswoman of the annual parliamentary session.

However, problems of fraud and cheating in online shopping are frequent and serious, which should be targeted by the amendments, she said.

Lawmaker Yang Zhen, president of the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said both business owners and online platform providers should ensure security of consumers' personal information.

The draft provides clarification on the protection of personal information, as leaks have seriously affected the lives of consumers and infringed upon their legal rights.

Consumers' information should be "strictly confidential" and business owners should adopt necessary technical measures to ensure security, according to the draft.

Lawmaker Song Hongwu, deputy director of the legislature in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, proposed the law cover the problem of excessive packaging, citing high-priced mooncakes which are mainly sold for exchanging gifts but are not environmentally friendly.

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