By ZHAO LEI
China has banned advertising and other commercial activities using the name or image of the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force, according to an official notice.
The notice was released in June by six central government and military departments including the Central Military Commission’s Logistic Support Department, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the Ministry of Public Security.
The document says authorities in recent years have found some businesses using the name or image of the PLA or PAPF to advertise or promote their products, or hinted that their products were specifically designed for the military and so were of better quality.
Such acts have seriously jeopardized the image and reputation of the armed forces and brought negative effects on the market especially when some profiteers used the strategy to advertise counterfeit and inferior-quality products, it notes.
The notice stipulates that commercial promotions are prohibited from relating themselves to the PLA or PAPF.
It singles out tobacco and alcohol businesses, stressing that they must not use any element connected with the military.
Local authorities are urged to regulate and punish violators, according to the notice.
In February 2016, the Central Military Commission ordered the PLA and the PAPF to cease all commercial activities within three years in an attempt to eradicate corruption and focus on combat training. It put an end to a three-decade period of the armed forces being involved in business sectors that was initially intended to supplement the defense budget.
At the end of 2018, the Chinese military had stopped all of its commercial activities.
Observers said that many corruption cases involving senior officers exposed in recent years were closely connected to the military’s previous commercial activities. Involvement in commercial sectors also aroused public suspicion about whether the PLA was focused on honing its combat capabilities and whether defense funds were properly used.
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