On Tuesday, the first working day of 2019, the police in Tianjin launched an investigation into Quanjian Natural Medicine Science &Technology Development Co on suspicion of pyramid selling and false advertising. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:
Before the Tianjin police announced their decision, there had been reports of Quanjian misleading consumers about the health benefits of its products.
Some reports even quoted a father blaming a Quanjian sales representative for persuading his family to give up modern medical treatment for his 4-year-old daughter, who suffered from cancer and died soon after.
That's why many guessed Quanjian might face criminal charges for false advertising. Before the police announced their decision, the local market regulatory and health departments had already said Quanjian might have exaggerated the curative effects of its products. If that proves to be the case, then Quanjian and its executives might face not only administrative penalties but also criminal charges.
Quanjian is also being investigated on suspicion it operated a pyramid selling scheme. The company reportedly has a sales network, in which people pay to join and get fees if they introduce new buyers. Quanjian insists its deeds are direct selling, for which it has obtained a license.
Actually, as early as 2012, a court in Northeast China's Jilin province ruled that four staff members of Quanjian were found guilty of pyramid selling.
This time the decision of the Tianjin police further deepens the suspicion that the company was running a pyramid selling scheme. If the police find evidence of this, Quanjian and its top executives might face criminal charges.
Of course, the decision of the police marks only the first step in the Quanjian case. In the future, there remains much to be done in probing the possible illegal deeds of Quanjian, as well as regulating the health product industry as a whole. Only a clear and transparent investigation will answer people's doubts and regain the public's trust.