CHINA TOLD ALCOHOL & TOBACCO BRANDS STOP EXPLOITING THE IMAGE OF THE PLA
By Tony Zhu
Source: Ministry of National Defence of China
China's all powerful Central Military Commission, which is headed by President Xi Jinping, told owners of alcoholic drink and tobacco brands that they cannot make any reference to anything related to the military in their choice of brand names, logos and in the wordings of their advertising.
In an unusually high-profile circular issued jointly by six government departments - namely the logistics department of the Central Military Commission, State Information Security Commission, Ministry of Public Security, State Administration for Market Regulation, State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and the State Intellectual Property Office – retailers were also told that they cannot sell alcoholic drink and tobacco products which tried to make reference to the military and the armed police.
The circular was published by the website of the State Intellectual Property Office on 6 July, it immediately attracted a lot of attention from China's netizens due to its exceptionally high profile.
Citing products with wordings like "the army's liquor", "supplier to the military" and "specially made for the military" on them, the circular said these descriptions do not only mislead consumers but also cause damages to the image of the military.
The circular called on the relevant departments of different levels of governments to crack down on these products to protect the image of the army.
China's advertising and trademark laws banned the use the flags, anthems and emblems of the People's Liberation Army in advertising and trademarks.
But companies could still register trademarks with the character “軍", meaning army or military, in them.
A search on China's official trademark database shows 1,793 valid trademarks with the character “軍" across all product categories.
It is believed that alcoholic drink and tobacco products will have to give up these trademarks from now, however, it is not clear if other product categories can continue to use them.
(the writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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