China’s “CCTV 3.15 Gala” Exposes Consumer Rights Violations

China’s annual consumer rights day TV show, the “CCTV 3.15 Gala,” was held on Tuesday evening by the country’s state broadcaster China Media Group (CMG). Similar to CBS network’s “60 Minutes” in the United States, the China Central Television (CCTV) show known as “3.15,” in reference to the global consumer rights day on March 15, exposed many brands and companies for alleged infringements.

Male Operators Pose as Female Hosts in the Live Rooms, Deceiving Fans

Located in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, Entertainment Co., Ltd. is known as one of the “Top Ten Livestreaming Guilds” in China. The company’s male operators posed as female hosts in the live digital rooms, and chatted privately with a male fan on the livestreaming platform. After getting closer, the operator took the opportunity to add the fan as a WeChat friend. The company, together with its employees, deceived fans in order to enhance user contributions.

Jade Livestream Bargaining Is Declared Foul Play

CCTV reporters applied for a job as a host in the “Yongdexiang” livestreaming room focused on selling jade. The host of the live room, who claimed to have a family jewelry factory, admitted frankly that the “professional” identities of all the hosts were fabricated. Moreover, so-called “bargains” were generally sold about twice as high as the purchase price of the products. There are also a large number of livestreaming rooms, such as Chengze Jade claiming to bargain in Myanmar, the source area of products. In fact, it took place at an office building in the Chinese city of Kunming. The owner was dressed in traditional Myanmar garb, and the scenery was all faked.

Word-of-mouth Marketing Agencies Manipulate Search Results

An employee of Shenzhen-based EIMS told a reporter that many of the questions and answers that netizens had seen while seeking help through Q&As, encyclopedias and other forums were made by word-of-mouth marketing agencies like them. They pretended to be real users and answered the question they had previously created on the page. For some critical comments and user complaints published by netizens, they would also use technological means to display these search results as pages showing it was unable to find the content.

Free WiFi Collected Data and Was Unable to Connect

Applications that provide free WiFi access services abound. Testers on the show tried all the listed WiFi access, but none of them could be connected. In addition, once a user was induced to click an advertisement link, the application was automatically installed onto the smartphone without any warning. This kind of free WiFi application also collected a lot of user information in the background of users’ smartphones.

Children Becoming Addicted to Lottery Games

There are many stationery shops and small stores around primary schools implementing various lottery games. Some of the lucky draw prizes were determined to be inferior products without a production license, product inspection certificate, or a factory name and address. They even had a pungent smell while opening. These games attracted children who lack self-control to play again and again.

Subpar Standards in Production of Chinese Sauerkraut

A video showed workers casually stepping on Chinese sauerkraut. Some even smoked cigarettes while working and threw the cigarette ends directly onto the vegetables. The production manager of the Chaqi Group, which provide products for many other food companies such as the renowned Kung Shi Fu instant noodles brand, told the show’s reporter that the company did not inspect the products’ hygiene indicators. Although the company has its own standardized process, sauerkraut from the pool containing almost no impurities were export products, while the processed products provided for other food enterprises were collected from dirty pits.

 “Sweet Potato Starch Noodles” Sold from Yuzhou Is Made of Cheap Cassava

Yuzhou is an important starch noodles production base in China. However, products such as “sweet potato starch noodles” and “yam starch noodles” sold from there were in fact made by mixing corn starch and cassava starch.

High-speed Downloads Used to Trap Customers

During the show, a reporter tested downloading applications using methods designed by Baizhu’s subsidiary, including a PC6 download station, Jiegeng download station, and ZOL software download platform. Their pages all display a green and conspicuous high-speed download option button, and there is also a small line below: “speed up by 50% downloading the high-speed downloader.” The so-called high-speed download button displayed on these unsafe software download websites is to induce users getting into their bundling trap. Users who aim to download one app will be bundled with six unnecessary applications.

Disturbing Harassing Phone Calls

Users browsed some websites on smartphones without leaving their phone number, but then received a harassing sales call from related industries. According to the general manager of the Hangzhou-based Yiyu, they could call users as long as they had browsed the website, even if they didn’t leave a phone number. Each person’s smartphone corresponds to a MAC (smartphone identification code) number, which can be matched to this smartphone. The company’s system could hide the calling number and prevent users’ complaints.

Obtaining Information on Children through TV Watches

After many apps are installed to a child watch, various sensitive permissions and related data such as positioning, contacts, microphone and camera can be opened to apps without user authorization. This means that the companies can easily obtain private information such as children’s location, face images and recordings.

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Electric Bicycles with Non-standard Speeds

According to the national standard, the speed of electric bicycles should not exceed 25 km/hour. However, in many cities, staff of many brands of electric bicycle shops, such as Hello, Luyuan, Sunra, Jinjian and Tail G, said that their products’ speed can be increased to 35-40 km/hour.

Shrinking “Non-standard” Cable

During the show, at least 30% of the merchants who sell wires and cables were determined to be selling non-standard cables. These merchants also said that although they are all non-standard products, all the necessary components were present.

Issues with Medical Beauty Training

There are many medical beauty training institutions on the internet, all of which claim to provide one-on-one tutoring, hand-in-hand teaching and zero-based teaching packages, while some even give out graduation certificates. However, after investigation, the show’s reporter found that the teacher in charge of training were not professional doctors themselves. Students with no foundation can still get the certificate of an advanced micro-plastic beautician after six days’ training.