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China to tighten controls on sex-related, illegal TV ads

CHINA'S television watchdog is initiating a fresh round of crackdowns on sex-related and illegal TV commercials, warning it might go as far as revoking broadcasting licenses for those companies acting out of line.

According to a circular posted yesterday on the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) website, all commercials for drugs, medical equipment and health supplements for sexual enhancement should be "resisted and cleansed" by radio and TV broadcasting authorities at all levels.

The SARFT would name and shame the offending broadcasters and would temporarily ban them from airing all commercial advertisements as punishment, according to the circular.

The watchdog would even revoke a company's broadcasting license if the case was serious enough, the circular said.

It also urged broadcasting authorities to tighten their rein on TV shopping programs, and to verify enterprises' qualifications before airing their TV shopping commercials.

TV shopping programs are sometimes used by fraudsters to sell shoddy products in China. While Chinese urban residents are more wary of these TV programs due to constant exposure, TV shopping is relatively novel for people in rural areas.

According to statistics released by the consumer society of the northeastern province of Jilin, TV shopping program complaints lodged by farmers accounted for 50 percent of total consumer complaints in the first half of 2009.


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